Why Does Beowulf Come to See Hrothgar?

Beowulf comes to help Hrothgar because the king helped Beowulf’s father once a long time ago. The heroic code dictated Beowulf to be loyal to the benefactors of his family. He had to repay for the good deed. Moreover, Beowulf strived for fame, and killing Grendel would bring him glory.

After Beowulf was born, Ecgtheow (his father) got into a feud with another tribe. In this war, he killed another warrior. The family of the deceased strived for revenge. The tribes were killing each other, and the war had no end. Ecgtheow’s own tribe declared him an outlaw as he caused the misfortune. In the Middle Ages, it meant that no one in the tribe would give him shelter, food, or protection. They could also confiscate his property or even kill the outlaw.  

Hrothgar was a savior for Beowulf’s family. He paid the wergild (blood money or compensatory damages) for Ecgtheow. Hrothgar also sheltered him, which was equal to saving his life. A person or family could not survive outside their tribe. They would be eaten by animals or killed by other tribes.  

In light of these circumstances, Beowulf owed his life to Hrothgar. As an excellent warrior, he proved his loyalty to him in battle. Beowulf killed Grendel, who endangered the existence of the Danish tribe. In that fight, he used only the strength of his bare hands. Beowulf ripped Grendel’s hand off its socket so that the monster fled to the swamps to die in pain. His debt was paid off, but he promised to remain loyal to the king till his dying day. 

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