Timeless Beowulf, Tireless Executives The literary masterpiece Beowulf compiles the life of Beowulf as living the supreme military life. The concepts and themes of the story are considered timeless because comparisons can be drawn from Beowulf’s life to the lives of the people of today. Consider the fact that Beowulf lives a detached life, which validates him being a wise and strong leader. This also leaves him a man who must face his death grasping the fact that he has foolishly abstained from having a devoted relationship with another person.
In his tenacious quest for fame and glory, Beowulf is evocative of concurrent young executives in that they classify their profession above all other facets of life, just as Beowulf placed his quest for fame and glory above all other aspects of his life. Beowulf demonstrates his unrelenting desire for fame by the slaying of the monster Grendel, keeping his composure to stay calm without being nervous or scared. Beowulf “[began] to remove his iron breast-mail, / took off the helmet and handed his attendant/ the patterned sword, a smith’s masterpiece” (Beowulf lines 44).
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His next expression of seeking heroic fame comes with the defeat of Grendel’s monstrous mother. Further proof of Beowulf’s heroism and glory is acknowledged when he “cuts the corpse’s head off” (Beowulf 65). Even when Beowulf is older and becomes king, he continues to seek fame because he is willing to battle the dragon despite realizing his heroic fate. The solitary life that Beowulf leads leaves him without having meaningful or intimate relationships. He is not a typical affiliate of their society and he has no close kinsman or companion with whom he can share his feelings.
According to the critical essay “Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism. ” written by scholar Robert Morey, “[Beowulf] is the only king in the poem who never marries. Rather Beowulf appears married to the eorlscipe [earlship] he enacts among the Danes” (4). In addition to never having an intimate relationship, the poem does not imply or even mention Beowulf procreating. The only thing that resembles a friendship is the loyalty that Wiglaf shows Beowulf. Wiglaf is the only warrior brave enough to stay and fight at his lord’s side (Beowulf 85).
Many people of today use similar practices in the business world with an outcome not as positive. A massive volume of today’s leaders, including but not limited to administrators, directors, officials and business executives follow the same relentless pursuit of great monetary success just as Beowulf’s incessant search for fame . The majority of these people alienate themselves from attached relationships as a result from this pursuit of fame and greed. An article written by Martin M.
Cooper in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal conveys this point, “I’m against the rewarding of mediocrity at the top, the opportunity these excessive salaries provide to those who criticize all business, and I’m against leaders of public companies who do not remember that we–the ones who buy the stock–are the real owners of the businesses” (390). This greed is undoubtedly the reason behind the lack of a family life in these people’s lives. Executives will also place the company’s values higher than their own personal values.
Confidence is necessary in this line of work, but when that turns into arrogance then problems arise in business and/or personal relationships. The analysis “Working lives of the lonely and arrogant: Michael Skapinker on the narcissistic tendencies of modern chief executives” published in The Financial Times reveals, “Moving into the chief executive’s suite inevitably changes the relationship with colleagues. It is difficult for former friends to talk freely to someone they now depend on for their pay and promotion” (Skapinker 13).
A variety of executives are contained by the foundation of self conservation. Living a detached and alienated life could cause a person to regret not having any personal or intimate relationships. The phrase “No guts, no glory” is the absolute code that Beowulf and modern business officials live and die by Timeless trends, views, and perceptions transcend from the life of Beowulf to the lives of the leaders of today. Works Cited Beowulf. Trans. Seamus Heaney. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors. 8th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt and M. H. Abrams.
New York: Norton, 2006. 31-97 Clark George. “Chapter 3: The Heroic Age, Ideal, and Challenge. ” “Beowulf” Twayne’s English Author Series 477. Twayne Publishers 1990 Infotrac Alabama Virtual Library. 13 Nov. 2009 . Cooper Martin M. “Lonely at the Top – But Often Lucrative . ” San Fernando Valley Business Journal (27 Feb. 2006): 390-391. Infotrac Alabama Virtual Library. 13 Nov. 2009 . Morey Robert. “Beowulf’s Androgynous Heroism. ” The Journal of English and German Philology (Oct. 1996): 486. Literature Resources from Gale. Alabama Virtual Library. 16 Nov. 2009.