Academic Papers: 02/23/09

Beowulf written by an unknown writer, it was common for a tribe to be ruled by a chieftin, also known as a king, who was expected to maintain the well being of his people. Shield Sheafson was the first example of a chieftin in the poem. Beowulf eventually lived up to him. “A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on as his powers waxed and his worth was proved.” Sheafson flourished at the height of his power and just like an ideal king was suppose to be, he was buried with treasures. The king surrounded himself with blood kindred retainers and many household members. Also the king led his men in battles and was rewarded with spoils. Royal generosity was also an important aspect of the Anglo Saxon culture and in this aspect of society retainers were known to fight for their lord. Beowulf was a member of Anglo Saxon society who eventually fulfilled the ideal king position. His ideal kingship was apparent by his excellent fighting skills as a warrior, his perseverance, leadership, loyalty, and generosity.


Beowulf was eventually well rewarded and remained king for fifty years after the death of his lord. Initially Beowulf began to be seen as a great warrior when he embarked on a boat with fourteen other warriors to run about to the terror of the Danes and their king Hrothgar. While walking in the footsteps of his predecessors he attempted to drive his peoples land to prosperity by helping to defeat perilous monster Grendel, a descendant of Cain’s Clan. “Now Holy God has, in his goodness, guided him here to the West-Danes to defend us from Grendel.” It is then that the reader begins to see Beowulf’s excellent fighting skills which would begin to characterize him as an ideal king. His physical strength allowed him to remain an excellent warrior. An unknown writer allows the reader to realize his physical strength during his argument with Unferth.


Beowulf explained to Unferth that the reason for his loss to Breca during a swimming match in the open sea was not only because he was drunk but he had also been swimming for numerous nights killing about nine sea beasts along the way. Beowulf eventually moved on to the big fight with Grendel to exact vengeance for the men he had slain. Beowulf fought Grendel with the use of his bare hands and claimed himself as dangerous as the monster. “I count myself as dangerous any day as Grendel.” In that event the lack of fear was evident which helped to enhance his fighting skills. The Danes had continuously fallen victim of this Cain’s clan member. Therefore, Beowulf’s victory was unexpected. Proof of his ideal kingship was seen high up near the roof of Heorot, the mead hall which was originally built by Beowulf’s predecessors. Beowulf’s ideal fighting skills continued with his perseverance to kill Grendel's mother who was another member of Cain’s clan as well as another force of evil. “Beowulf got ready, donned his war gear, indifferent to death: His mighty, hand forged, fine webbed mail would soon meet with the menace underwater. This content has been generated with the help of Essay Writers.


During his fight with Grendel’s mother, Beowulf was handed a sword from Unferth who had previously challenged his strength. This sword was a great example of Beowulf’s fighting skills. While the fight with Grendel’s mom progressed, Beowulf caught eye of a sword that only his physical strength could handle. “Then he saw a blade that boded well, a sword in her armory, an ancient heirloom from the days of the giants, an ideal, one that any warrior would envy, but so huge and heavy, only Beowulf could wield it in a battle. A lifeless corpse seen by fifteen of Hrothgar’s house guards was again proof of Beowulf’s excellent fighting skills. Since royal generosity was important in the Anglo Saxon culture, generosity also allowed Beowulf to live up to his ideal kingship. Even though he failed upon his death to protect the Geats, his fights with the members of Cain’s clan as well as the dragon were great examples of him sacrificing his life for his retainers. He also lived up to kingship by showing great respect and generosity towards Hrothgar.



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