Many of the characters in Beowulf are, like in most epics,
defined by their status. But, in addition to status, the Anglo-Saxon
culture also adds an element of honor. To the Anglo-Saxons, a
character's importance, as well as their wealth and status, where
measured not only in monetary terms, but it was also measured in terms of honor, fame, and accomplishments.
Beowulf shows remorse for his past deeds, his lost of honor was his death, an unbearable suffering which made him feel like a walking dead, he tried to show his friend that shame is worse than death, it’s like a bleeding wound, even when walking it hurts, this was a spiritual death to Beowulf so to emphasize his mistakes in the past as those actions represent his character inexistent to present. What were Beowulf mistakes which caused him great sadness and pain? Greed for power and other benefits lead to surpass his honour, and in order to achieve them he even cooperated with the enemy of his people for his personal goal. Two phases of his life, separated by fifty years, correspond to two different models of virtue, and much of the moral reflection in the story focuses on differentiating these two models and on showing how Beowulf makes the transition from one to the other.
Hrothgar, king of the Danes, is
one example of the Anglo-Saxon measurement of importance in Beowulf.
In Canto 1 the story teller describes his wealth and importance, not
as mounds of gold or jewels, but instead as his ability to "[lead] the
Danes to such glory." and as his tendency to "In battle, [leave] the
common pasture untouched, and...