Sunday, January 19, 2020
Beowulfs Manifestation of Hrothgars Lessons :: Epic Beowulf essays
Beowulf's Manifestation of Hrothgar's Lessons "We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been considered contemptible; the rest have failed." Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã --Machiavelli, The Prince Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã Ã In this statement --and in the rest of his major work, The Prince -- Machiavelli attempts to justify the cruelty of a leader; it is necessary, he seems to say, to be feared in order to succeed.Ã It is doubtful that the renaissance political theorist ever read the poem of Beowulf; in any case, he did not very much with its message. For if its titular hero followed the maxims of Machiavelli, Hrothgar, the leader of the Danes in the poem, contends that it will bring upon pride and, ultimately, Beowulf's downfall. Hrothgar's message is exactly contrasting to that of Machiavelli's. His political theory states that it is necessary to be good-willed to one's people and to refrain from being blinded by pride in order to be a successful leader. Fortunately for Beowulf, during his fifty-year reign as the ruler of the Geats he follows Hrothgar's sagacious lesson; consequently, he is compassionate leader who never lets his pride overcome his judgment. Ã Throughout his reign as the ruler of the Geats, Beowulf is a benevolent leader - bringing peace and power to his nation as Hrothgar instructs him to after the great warrior defeats Grendel's mother. Hrothgar relates to him a story about the Heremod, King of the Danes, who "brought little joy to the Danish people, only death and destruction" (1711-1712), and that "suffered in the end for having plagued his people" (1720-1721). That is, Hrothgar claims that one cannot be a successful leader unless one is virtuous ruler. Furthermore, he tells Beowulf to "learn from this and understand true value" (1723-1724). Therefore, Hrothgar's intends that this information be carried on with Beowulf. During his final moments, after he kills the treasure hording dragon, Beowulf reflects on his reign over the Geats, and those reflections demonstrate that he understands the importance of virtue and honor. He claims that he "cared for and stood by things in [his] keeping, never fomented qua rrels, never swore to a lie" (2736-2739). His goodwill and righteousness is highly regarded by the warrior, for he continues, "the Ruler of mankind need never blame me [.