"Hrothgar replied, protector of the Danes: 'Beowulf, you've come to us in friendship, and because of the reception your father found at our court. Edgetho had begun a bitter feud, killing Hathlaf, a Wulfing warrior: Your father's countrymen were afraid of war, if he returned to his home, and they turned him away. Then he traveled across the curving waves to the land of the Danes. I was new to the throne, then a young man ruling this wide kingdom and its golden city: Hergar, My older brother, a far better man than I, had died and dying made me, second among Healfdane's sons, first in this nation. I bought the end of Edgetho's quarrel, sent to ancient treasures through the ocean's furrows to the Wulfing's; your father swore he'd keep that peace. My tongue grows heavy, and my heart, when I try to tell you what Grendel has brought us, the damage he's done, here in this hall. You see for yourself how much smaller our ranks have become, and can guess what we've lost to his terror. Surely the Lord Almighty could stop his madness, smother his lust! How many times have my men, glowing with courage drawn from too many cups of ale, sworn to stay after dark and stem that horror with a sweep of their swords. And then, in the morning, this mead-hall glittering with new light would be drenched with blood, the benches stained red, the floors, all wet from that fiend's savage assault--and my soldiers would be fewer still, death taking more and more. But to table, Beowulf, a banquet in your honor: Let us toast your victories, and talk of the future."
In Beowulf, Hrothgar delivers this speech to Beowulf; what values are reflected in the speech?
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In the Anglo Saxon epic Beowulf, Hrothgar and his people have been plagued by the marauder Grendel for twelve years. When Beowulf comes to defeat the monster, Hrothgar is grateful for himself and his people. In this speech, he demonstrates the values which he (and therefore his people) holds.
First, Hrothgar values friendship. He mentions the friendship he had with Beowulf's father for brokering peace between him and Edgetho. He specifically mentions "the reception [Beowulf's] father found at our court."
Second, he values giving honor to those who deserve it. Hrothgar speaks honor about Beowulf's father, his older brother )"a far better man than I"), Beowulf, and of course his own brave men.
Third, he values the giving of gifts, which he mentions several times in this speech and which he will elaborate on in another speech to Beowulf.
Fourth, he values his people. When he talks about the horrors Grendel has wrought, he is clearly mourning the loss of his people.
You see for yourself how much smaller our ranks have become, and can guess what we've lost to his terror.
Fifth, Hrothgar values God and has obviously been praying for Him to stop Grendel's murdering destruction.
Hrothgar is an honorable man who gives credit where it is due and speaks graciously about others; he loves his people and mourns their loss at the hands of Grendel.
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