Which Words Describe the Relationship between Hrothgar and Beowulf?

Hrothgar plays a father figure in Beowulf’s life, and their relationship is full of mutual respect and loyalty. These two words represent the message the author wanted to convey by describing these two characters’ communication. In the end, Beowulf becomes a wise king, just as Hrothgar was.

The heroic code in the Anglo-Saxon culture required helping people in danger. But Hrothgar was not helpless. He was a powerful king with a glorious ancestry. The author wrote an extensive description of Hrothgar’s predecessors to underline that the king deserved the hero’s help. For this reason, Beowulf respected him as a wise and experienced king of the Danes.  

Beowulf, in his turn, also had a prominent “career path.” He defeated nine sea monsters during a swimming competition. His was as mighty as thirty warriors and “was loved by the Geats.” Moreover, Beowulf was a keen leader, as fifteen knights followed him overseas to help Hrothgar. All these facts make him worthy of the king’s respect.

As for loyalty, Beowulf had nothing in common with the Scandinavian tribe attacked by Grendel, a monstrous Cain’s descendant. Still, he asked for Hygelac’s permission (the King of the Geats and his uncle) to sail to the Danes and help them. It shows that in addition to seeking fame, he wanted to be loyal to Hrothgar.  

Loyalty in Beowulf means the duty to repay for any good. King Hrothgar saved Ecgtheow, the hero’s father. He paid wergild to the Wulfings to resolve their feud with Ecgtheow. For this reason, Beowulf did his best to do a return favor and remained loyal to the king afterward. 

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