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Hygelac is also the only person to whom Beowulf wishes to give the treasure which he had received as a reward for his courageous deeds.
Due to the wisdom and experiences of Hrothgar, the relationship between him and Beowulf becomes rather unique in the poem. Although he is as solidly rooted in the heroic code as Beowulf is, his old age and his experience with both good and ill fortune have caused him to develop a more reflective attitude toward heroism than Beowulf possesses. He is aware of both the privileges and the dangers of power, and he warns Beowulf not to give in to pride and always to remember that blessings may turn to grief. This is expressed in the statement: “Now for a time there is glory in your might: yet soon it shall be that sickness or sword will diminish your strength, or fire’s fangs, or flood’s surge; brightness of eyes will fail and grow dark; then it shall be that death will overcome you, warrior” (49). His wise words has a great impact on Beowulf, who regards Hrothgar as his father figure, saying “You would always be in a father’s place for me when I am gone” (46). Although the relationship between the two kings, Hygelac and Hrothgar, is not explicitly presented in the story, Hygelac’s attitude towards the king of Danes is rather reserved, since he might feel a sort of rivalry between himself and Hrothgar. This becomes clear from the following statement: “I entreated you long that you should in no way approach the murderous spirit, should let the South-Danes themselves settle the war with Grendel” (53). His constrained character could also be observed from his doubts about Beowulf’s success in the fights, as expressed in “Had no trust in the venture of my beloved man” (52).
Due to the individuality of all three characters, the relationship between Beowulf, Hygelac and Hrothgar is rather special. Beowulf, the perfect character, makes no distinguishing in treating the both kings with a same amount of respect, which makes his relationship with Hrothgar bound. Hygelac’s relationship towards Hrothgar however remains restrained, since he considers the king of Danes more a rival than an ally. Since all three characters are unique personalities, their way of thinking, acting and treating each other is different as well, which makes their relationships individual.
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Zdroje: “Beouwulf” The Norton Anthologhy of English Literature vol.2. Ed. Abrams, M. H. et al. 6th ed. New York: Norton, 1993. 21-68.
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