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Beowulf comes to the assistance of the Danes (Scyldings) for complicated reasons.
Beowulf could become king then but is more loyal than ambitious.
Queen Hygd offers Beowulf the throne after her husband dies, thinking that her young son (Heardred) is unable to protect the kingdom; Beowulf refuses and serves the young king faithfully.
He has and continues to amass treasures; his intent now is in building his fame.
Unferth's slur accuses Beowulf of foolishly engaging in a seven-day swimming contest on the open sea, as a youth, and losing.
From the beginning, Beowulf is rightly concerned about how the rest of the world will see him.
He introduces himself to the Scyldings by citing achievements that gained honor for him and his king.His reputation intact, Beowulf prepares to meet Grendel and further enhance his fame.As he discusses Beowulf's later years, the poet lists the virtues (2177 ff.) leading to the great man's fine reputation.He points out that he swam with Breca for five nights, not wanting to abandon the weaker boy.Rough seas then drove them apart, and Beowulf had to kill nine sea monsters before going ashore in the morning.Reputation is also the single quality that endures after death, his one key to immortality.That's why Beowulf later leaves the gold in the cave beneath the mere, after defeating the mother, preferring to return with Grendel's head and the magic sword's hilt rather than treasure.When the hero returns to Geatland, he continues his loyalty to his uncle and king, Hygelac, risking his life even when the tactics of the ruler are not the best.After Hygelac is killed in an ill-advised raid on Frisia, Beowulf makes a heroic escape (2359 ff.) back to Geatland.Preparing for his last battle, with the fiery dragon, Beowulf puts his trust in 11 of his finest men, retainers who have vowed to fight to the death for him.Although the now elderly king insists on taking on the dragon alone, he brings along the 11 in case he needs them.