Heroism and Loyalty in Beowulf
The composition on Beowulf focuses on the main character “Beowulf”. Beowulf’s selflessness to protect his people and the land can be seen throughout the poem. Though the poem has a bitter tone, where the grand old days of the kingdom have now been replaced by cowardice, Beowulf emerges as a hero in the composition. Therefore, his acts bring about the main themes of loyalty and heroism throughout the composition.
Amongst the warriors depicted in the poem, Beowulf emerges as the most heroic. He not only exudes the strength of a warrior, but also stands to fulfill his social obligations. The author at one point states that Beowulf possesses God-sent powers and strength that help him overcome his enemies. The Danes acknowledge Beowulf’s strength having heard previous stories of him fighting the sea beasts. In the battles he encounters, Beowulf emerges as a strong fighter even when he had to fight Grendel and his mother. As an old man in his late years, Beowulf takes up the challenge of fighting the dragon, to ensure that his people remain safe. He is so determined to play his role as a leader, and is also ready to face his destiny and fate without a flinch.
The theme of loyalty reflects the values of the characters in the story. It is important to note that loyalty stands out as a guiding virtue in Beowulf’s poem. Because of his loyalty to his king, Beowulf saved the country, Hrothgar, and his people. In comparison to other men in the country, Beowulf’s loyalty stands out because every time Hrothgar the king was in trouble, he gave himself wholly without any reward expectation or ascend to the throne. This loyalty arises from the fact that the King protected his father earlier in the years; hence his obligation was to pay for the protection of his father’s life through loyalty. Upon the death of the King, Beowulf does not take up the role of kingship even when offered by the queen of the land. Beowulf forsakes the throne and instead opts to crown and serve the young king with loyalty. It is only after the death of the young king that Beowulf takes up the seat of Kingship having demonstrated loyalty to his people.
The acts demonstrated by Beowulf reveal that the human characters heroism and loyalty made Beowulf stand out amongst his people. His ability to serve the King and the people proved that, with the right virtues, a nation can progress further and peace prevail in the land. Subsequent generations in the land will have something to learn from his virtues: loyalty and heroism.