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Unformatted text preview: Generosity and Hospitality The Scyldings' King Hrothgar and Queen Wealhtheow embody the themes of generosity and hospitality. The code of the comitatus is at the heart of the Beowulf epic. In this system, the king or feudal lord provides land, weapons, and a share of treasure to his warriors (called thanes or retainers) in return for their support of the leader in battle. The leader's generosity is one of his highest qualities. There are more than 30 different terms for "king" in the poem, and many of them have to do with this role as provider. He is the "ring-giver' (35) or the "treasure-giver" (607); his seat of power is the "gift-throne" (168). When booty is seized from an enemy in battle, everything goes to the king. He then allots treasure to each warrior according to the man's achievements as a soldier. When Beowulf defeats Grendel and each warrior according to the man's achievements as a soldier....
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course ENG 1320 taught by Professor Bost during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.
- Fall '09