In the story Beowulf, Beowulf is a character who is idealized for his achievements and his bravery. He does not approve of praising others, being put down, or allowing others to help him.
In contrast, the noble King Arthur in Idylls of the King is a king who is idealized for his nobility, honour, and approval of his followers. Continually they are praised for their right doings, accepted for their wrong doings (such as Guinevere’s infidelity), and he rules the kingdom to teach his people morals.
It is ironic that Beowulf does not like having help in battle, whereas the King continually accepts help, but both pass-on with equal sorrow from their people and mention of their ‘greatness’. Why is this? And do we accept that they are equally as great (just in different ways)? Is it because of the time they were written? Is it even fair to compare two kings who have such opposite morals?
Lord Tennyson, Alfred. “Idylls of the King.” Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2012. Print.
“Beowulf.” Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2012. Print.