In the fictional story Beowulf, one of the oldest existing poems in the English
language, loyalty is revealed in all aspects. Due to Gods loyal act of strength and
power at an exceptional time for the Danes, Beowulf comes into existence as
Scylds son. Loyalty, an act of good faith, is a quality you can cherish in everyone.
Beowulfs past plays a major role in his future. Scyld, Beowulfs father, did not
have a son for many years.
God saw the misery that would befall the Danish nation
if Scyld were to die and leave his country leaderless, so God provided Scyld with
Beowulf. Afterward, Beowulf rules the Danes for many years. Then his son,
Healfdene, becomes ruler, and he has four sons and a daughter. One of Healfdenes
sons, Hrothgor, although not the eldest, eventually becomes king of the Danes
because of his loyal courage and success in battle, and his band of warriors
increases as his reputation for success and fairness grows throughout the land;
eventually, he builds up a fierce army.
Grendel, not only a monster in human-like shape, but he is also a descendant of
Cain. He lives under an inherited curse and is denied Gods presence.
reports of Grendels bloodthirsty raids reach King Hygelacs court in Geatland.
Soon afterward, Hygelacs nephew Beowulf announces that he will sail to
Hrothgars kingdom and offer help. He sets out immediately, sailing across the sea
with fourteen carefully chosen thanes. Arriving at the Danish shore, Beowulf and his
men give thanks to God for a safe journey, then come ashore. They are greeted by
Hrothgars coastal guard, who expresses surprise at the Geats brazenness,
commenting particularly on Beowulfs formidable and princely bearing.
Beowulf emerges triumphant and swims ashore, carrying the hilt of the giant
sword and Grendels huge head.
The Geats cluster about him, thanking God, and
after impaling Grendels heavy head on a spear, four men carry it back to Heorot. At
Heorot, they drag the head across the floor for all to see, while Beowulf relates the
story of his fight beneath the water, referring to Grendels mother as the enemy of
God. Beowulfs moral greatness is enhanced by contrasting his refusal of the throne
to Hrothulfs display of ingratitude to Hrothgars kindness when he later lays hold of
the Danish throne.
Beowulf rules wisely for fifty years without war or disruption of peace. As a
warrior, he is incredibly gentle, the mildest of men, and most civil. The peace of the
kingdom is destroyed only when the enraged dragon roars through the Geats
homeland, burning homes and destroying their mead hall.
Beowulfs first thought is
that he himself may have sinned, or broken an ancient law, and the dragon has been
sent as Gods punishment. With superior forces like God and the heroic deeds made
by Beowulf, then one can truly say they understand and respect loyalty. .