Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beowulf: The Ideal Anglo-Saxon

"Yet the prince of the rings was too proud
to ... purged
Hrothgar's hall, triumphed in Heorot
and beaten Grendel."

            Amongst the Anglo-Saxon culture, there were a multitude of values and characteristics that were vital to society. The most important traits included honesty, bravery, loyalty, and fame. Within the poem Beowulf, the most prevalent of these characteristics is bravery. Beowulf displayed a great deal of courage in his efforts to duel with the dragon. Beowulf displayed honesty by staying true to his intentions of journeying to Hrothgar’s mead hall. His plan was to eliminate Grendel and he did not deter from his objective. Although Beowulf was not necessarily a personal friend of Hrothgar, Beowulf displayed loyalty in assisting Hrothgar. Hrothgar was an ally of Beowulf’s uncle, and Beowulf was loyal to his uncle by partaking in the daunting task of murdering Grendel. One of Beowulf’s ulterior motives in his quest to kill Grendel was to obtain glory and to establish a more recognized name for himself. He was well-known prior to his journey, but he was also secretly plotting to attain more fame than he initially had. As far as universal themes are concerned, the theme of good versus evil is a very prevailing theme. Beowulf and Grendel are the examples of this theme. Beowulf is representative of the good while Grendel is symbolic of the evil. A second universal theme present in Beowulf is the theme of a warrior’s journey. Beowulf’s journey to Hrothgar’s mead hall was to defeat and put an end to the malevolence of Grendel. The last major universal theme acknowledged in Beowulf is the universal theme of bravery. Despite the speculation Beowulf was subjected to, he was still determined to accomplish his endeavor.  Beowulf had to muster up a significant amount of valor to put forth a valiant fight against his formidable foe Grendel.

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