Good Leadership In Beowulf

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770285 The Idea of Good Leadership in Beowulf In the anonymous Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, heroism and leadership is one significant theme that is explored. In lines 182-211, the eponymous Beowulf is in the process of speaking to Hrothgar and his people, asking the Danish king to allow him to fight Grendel, who has been terrorizing the Danes for many years. Through his overall tone and his choice of words, Beowulf conveys the idea that a good leader is complex but well-balanced and can achieve this through several different aspects. A deeper understanding of Anglo-Saxon culture can be seen by examining this excerpt. First and foremost, Beowulf demonstrates in his speech that he has not only physical strength…show more content…
The way Beowulf chooses to describe the Danish king is very notable; the words he use have a very deliberate effect on one’s idea of Hrothgar as a leader. Interestingly, Beowulf describes Hrothgar as a “shelterer of warriors”, emphasizing this protective, almost nurturing side of him rather than his power or his wealth (185). The fact that this is what he chooses to point out in his praising of Hrothgar seems to show how important this aspect of leadership is to him, and presumably to the Danes as well. It shows that despite the fact that ideas such as strength and skill are often associated with warriors such as the Anglo-Saxons, they are not the only important idea in this kind of society. Furthermore, despite the fact that Hrothgar is the king of the Danes, Beowulf calls him his “people’s loved friend” (185). The word “friend” highlights the idea of Hrothgar being, in a sense, his people’s equal. Though it may seem counterintuitive, it serves to show that a good leader must not undervalue their subjects, and must not elevate themselves too highly above their people. The words that Beowulf uses to praise Hrothgar help to show some of the often overlooked aspects of good

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