In the fictional story Beowulf, one of the oldest existing poems in the English language, loyalty is revealed in all aspects. Due to God’s loyal act of strength and power at an exceptional time for the Danes, Beowulf comes into existence as Scyld’s son. Loyalty, an act of good faith, is a quality that you can cherish in everyone. Beowulf’s past plays a major role in his future.
Scyld, Beowulf’s 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 ruled the Danes for many years. Then his son, Healfdene, became ruler, and he had four sons and a daughter. One of Healfdene’s sons, Hrothgar, eventually became king of the Danes because of his loyal courage and success in battle. His band of warriors increased as his reputation for success and fairness grew throughout the land, and eventually, he built up a fierce army. Grendel, a monster in human-like shape and a descendant of Cain, terrorized the Danes.
He lives under an inherited curse and is denied God’s presence. Reports of Grendel’s bloodthirsty raids reach King Hygelac’s court in Geatland. Soon afterward, Hygelac’s nephew Beowulf announces that he will sail to Hrothgar’s 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 Hrothgar’s coastal guard, who expresses surprise at the Geats’ brazenness, commenting particularly on Beowulf’s formidable and princely bearing.
Beowulf emerges triumphant and swims ashore, carrying the hilt of the giant sword and Grendel’s huge head. The Geats cluster around him, thanking God. After impaling Grendel’s 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 Grendel’s mother as the enemy of God. Beowulf’s moral greatness is enhanced by contrasting his refusal of the throne to Hrothulf’s display of ingratitude towards Hrothgar’s 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. Beowulf’s first thought is that he himself may have sinned or broken an ancient law, and the dragon has been sent as God’s punishment. With superior forces like God and the heroic deeds made by Beowulf, then one can truly say they understand and respect loyalty.