Beowulf is a terrific example of a story that portrays the beliefs the Anglo-Saxon people. Their entire culture was based on heroism and loyalty. They encouraged heroic action in the face of doom and generously rewarded bravery. These charcteristics instilled a sense of courage and loyalty in many individuals. They also tries to imply the message that one should never give up, no matter how much the odds are against you. The importance of bravery, generousity, loyalty, and the King-warrior relationship can be seen in the epic Beouwulf.
The heroic elements in the epic poem Beowulf are evident in the characters. Beowulf is depicted as a superhero. Beowulf takes it upon himself to save the Danes from Grendel. In his battle with Grendel, Beowulf chooses not to use weapons; he relies on his strength. During the fight, Beowulf’s strength takes over and Beowulf wrestles with Grendel until he is able to rip one of the monster’s arms out of its socket. Superhuman feats also appear in the fight with Grendel’s mother. When Beowulf enters the water, he swims downward for an entire day before he sees the bottom.
He does this without the use of oxygen. During the battle with Grendel’s mother, Beowulf realizes that Unferth’s sword is useless against the monsters thick skin. He grabs an enormous sword made by giants, almost too heavy to hold and slashes through the monster’s body. Beowulf’s spirit and teachings do not allow him to quit, even though he may die. The Anglo-Saxons use Beowulf as an example that thier soldiers should follow. Even though Beowulf posses super-human qualities, his victories are not won easily.
He struggles just as much as those who do not posses super-human qualities. Even though Beowulf fought many monsters by himself, he would not have been able to accomplish any of those deeds without an extraordinary sense of heroism. The Anglo-Saxon Tradition encouraged heroic action in the face of doom and Beowulf lives up to their expectations. One example of this is his fight with the dragon. Even though Beowulf is an old man, he stands up to the dragon and wounds him. The dragon in Beowulf spits fire with such intense heat that it melts Beowulf’s shield to his body.
Although Beowulf is fatally wounded himself, he still manages to deliver the final blow that kills the dragon. The belief that one “should never give up” is once again clearly evident. Grendel is also seen as a superhuman monster. The dragon is also seen as a super powerful adversary of the hero of the story. Beowulf’s great deeds for the Danes, do not go unrewarded. The King would always reward his warriors because he believed that generosity would encourage bravery and loyalty. One such example is when the warriors raid the village give all their earnings to the King.
The King then rewards the warriors by giving them a small percentage of what they stole back. The warriors were also given a feast where they had a party and drank alcohol until they were intoxicated. These celebrations and the King’s kindness made the warriors loyal to their King. Another example of the King rewarding his warriors is when Beowulf defeated Grendel. The King gave Beowulf a sword, sheild, and chain armor. Rarely did a king give one warrior all of those items on one occasion because those items were in high demand and very expensive. The chain armor also took a long time to create.
The King-warrior relationship was very important because if the warriors did not like their King, the whole kingdom would be in peril. By treating his warriors like a second family, the King made each warrior feel needed and appreciated, which made each warrior work harder in order to please his King. All in all, Beowulf possess all of the Anglo-Saxon traits. Their entire culture was based on heroism and loyalty. They encouraged heroic action in the face of doom and generously rewarded bravery. Beowulf served as an example of how the ideal warrior, King, and person should be.
Beowulf is a like a brochure of beliefs of the Anglo-Saxons, such as the King-warrior relationship. Beowulf showed you that you could overcome the odds, no matter how much they were against you. Everyone should strive to be like Beowulf because he never gave up. He demonstrated that he could do anything that he wanted as long as he was determined to do it. You may not have superhuman strength, or have to fight superhuman monsters, but you will come face to face with many different conflicts. Beowulf demonstrated that you must rise to the occassion in order to accomplish your goal, no matter how hard it may seem.