In Beowulf, analyze Hrothgar's speech (lines 927-955). What seems significant?



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What is of interest in Hrothgar's speech is the way that Hrothgar fulfills the role of king who rewards those heroes who are faithful to him with gifts and honour. Hrothgar therefore shows himself to be a good king in the way that he responds to Beowulf's feat of ripping the arm from Grendel and leaving him to run off back to his lair, presumably to die. Hrothgar in his speech gives testament to Beowulf's great strength and might whilst also giving him the honour and praise that he has rightfully earned through his exploits. Note what Hrothgar says to him:

Now I would adopt you, the best of men, as my son in this life. Guard this new kinship. You will not want for any worldly wealth whilst I have power.

In Anglo-Saxon times, a good king rewarded those loyal and faithful to him with gifts and treasure, and a good soldier carried out deeds that showed them to be brave and strong. What is interesting about Hrothgar's speech is therefore the way in which Hrothgar maintains these roles and justly rewards Beowulf for his exploits.


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