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Father Son Relationship Essay

1205 words - 5 pages

In Middle Ages literature, the relationship between a son and his guardian plays a huge role in the advancement of the novel. Three writings in particular prove how this relationship is beneficial to showing the responsibilities of a father and son in the novel. The relationship between a father and song can be seen in the Song of Roland where Roland is the nephew of the King Charlemagne. Roland is given the responsibility of guarding the back flank of the army and refuses to show his weakness to Charlemagne when he dies defending it. In the story of Beowulf, Hrothgar acts as a father figure toward Beowulf. Hrothgar cannot successfully defend his kingdom from Grendel and despite being senior ...view middle of the document...

Hold yourself well in this new relation!" (Beowulf, pg. 80). As this relationship blossoms, Beowulf is showered with gifts from Hrothgar which is customary to their time. Their relationship strengthens as Beowulf fights the newest threat Grendel’s mother, who has come to revenge her son’s death. Hrothgar is forever grateful to Beowulf for saving the kingdom as his old age prevents himself from doing it.
The relationship between Charlemagne and Roland is as significant as Beowulf and Hrothgar. Charlegmane is superior to Roland but respects him enough as he is a prized knight to allow him to guard the back flank of the army. Roland was tricked into taking that position in the army and winds up being sabotaged and killed. “Charles lies awake and weeps for Roland’s plight. The King is weary, for grief weighs on his eyes. " (The Song of Roland, 184) This differs from the relationship of Wrothgar and Beowulf because Wrothgar was proud of what Beowulf had accomplished and Charles is guilty that he allowed his nephew to be killed and be betrayed by Ganelon. The relationships do relate as both Wrothgar and Ganelon help their “sons” as Wrothgar showered Beowulf with gifts and Charles hunts down the Pagans that killed Roland.
In Lancelot, Meleagant has a very interesting relationship with his father King Bademagu. Meleagant has lived his whole life trying to live up to his father’s standards and prove himself but is never able to do so. The king believes his son is in the wrong for kidnapping Queen Guinevere and asks Meleagant to “honour him and deliver the Queen into his (Lancelot’s) hands.” (Lancelot, 3200) Meleagant disagrees and decides to fight Lancelot. As Lancelot fights Meleagant for Guinevere, King Bademagu steps in to make peace before his son can be killed. Despite the King disagreeing with his son, he still cares about his well being and that he stays alive.
In these stories, the character that is focused on the most is given the most power and prestige. In Beowulf, we see a turning of tables as the father like figure in Wrothgar can no longer powerfully control the kingdom. Beowulf comes in as a new young dominant warrior to take his place and make sure that all is peaceful. Quite the opposite happens in Song of Roland as Roland is defeated in battle. Roland was a proven warrior who was highly regarded but the king is shown in the greatest light....

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