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Unformatted text preview: The one retainer who comes to Beowulf's aid in the battle against the dragon represents the theme of loyalty in the system of the comitatus . This is the honor code that exists between the king, or feudal lord, and his warriors, sometimes called "thanes" or "retainers." (Technically, retainers would be of higher rank, but the words are often used interchangeably.) Thanes swear devotion to their leader and vow to fight boldly, to the death if necessary, for him. For his part, the leader rewards his thanes with treasure, protection, and land. His generosity is one of the virtues for which he is admired. Wiglaf is a young warrior in the service of his king, Beowulf. We are told that he is a kinsman of Beowulf, the last of the Waegmunding clan. When he realizes that Beowulf is in serious jeopardy in his battle with the dragon, Wiglaf calls to the other 10 retainers who accompanied the king to the...
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- Fall '09