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Lines XXVI [Beowulf Returns Home]-“Himself with his retainers”

The selected passage presents to the reader a sense of the true camaraderie that Beowulf and Hrothgar share. Beowulf extends himself completely to Hrothgar, if there might be a day in time that his services are needed again. Beowulf explains even so he must venture out onto the sea and return home. As the passage continues, Hrothgar speaks compassionately of Beowulf. He says that he never heard such a young man speak more wisely and rewards him with twelve gifts. Then Beowulf and his men, dressed in armor, walk off to their ship where the coast guard watches as he has done before, but this time he greets them formally. The Geats set off to return home to their king, Hygelac. The passage conveys a true understanding of how greatly revered Beowulf is to the Danes.

For instance, when HRothgar, son of Healfdene, is presenting Beowulf with his gifts Hrothgar “kissed the best of the thanes and took him by his neck: tears fell from the gray haired one” (Howe). Hrothgar cares so much for Beowulf that he actually weeps at his announcement for departure. Following directly after, Hrothgar concludes that they will not see one another again. He can not “restrain his breast’s welling.” ...he feels true grief over Beowulf’s parting. Beowulf walks away, ready to return home. The passage states, “The gift of Hrothgar was oft-praised: that was a king blameless in all things until age took from him the joys of his strength—old age that has often harmed many” (Howe). This truly speaks as a foreshadowing for what is to come of Beowulf, what he is going to have to understand as true for himself as well.

Beowulf is also given advice by Hrothgar, which shows how much he cars for him: “Keep yourself against that wickedness, beloved Beowulf, best of men, and choose better – eternal gains. Have no care for pride, great warrior” (Howe). All Hrothgar gives him is praise by saying he is a great warrior and best of man. For a king to be saying such things about someone whom he is not related to makes a big statement about how important Beowulf has become to him. Hrothgar at every chance makes Beowulf seem superior and better than anyone else. He says, “The all knowing lord sent those words into your mind; I have not heard a man of so young age speak more wisely” (Howe). He tells Beowulf how his heart has longed pleased him.

It is clear to all in this passage that Beowulf is greatly rewarded and happily returns home with amazing treasure and weapons: “Away from him Beowulf, warrior glorious with gold, walked over the grassy ground, proud of his treasure” (Howe). Beowulf receives so much gold and so many gifts that when he is standing by his boat, he gives the boat guard a sword wound with gold. There is not a better way to show how grateful Hrothgar is than to see the way he showers Beowulf with gold, weapons, treasure but most importantly verbal praise. It's mentioned that on the boat the beams creak with all the weight of treasure that Beowulf is taking back with him. Plus, he is so well endowed with riches that when he gets home he gives away some of his treasure to his ruler and still has plenty for himself and plenty to be known for.

Hrothgar does not waste on second showing his gratitude to Beowulf and saying how proud and happy he is to have him standing in the great hall and drinking among them. Hrothgar showers him with many gifts praises and drink. All of this makes Beowulf the great warrior of that time. His kingdom will be offered to Beowulf after Hrothgar passes on, completely ignoring the true heir (though Beowulf does not accept but serves instead as the guardian to young kings). From crying tears of joy to rewarding with unbelievable riches, Hrothgar is shown to be a true, compassionate man and proves right off the bat that he truly loves Beowulf and is grateful for everything that he has done.

Written by: Margaret Scully and Pedro Pereira