Anglo Saxon Culture as reflected in Beowulf
Every culture has its own set of beliefs values and customs. Cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions are directly and indirectly acquired throughout a lifetime. A culture is the sum of a group’s way of life and this is no different with the ancient Anglo Saxon culture. Cultures usually have distinct figures that reflect their culture as a whole. The importance of religion, values, and heroes are reflected a great deal in the epic poem of Beowulf accurately showing the Anglo Saxon culture as a whole. Men dominated the Anglo Saxon society and the people loved a great hero like that of Beowulf. They believed a hero should be a keeper of his promises, be boastful and produce great physical strength. Also Beowulf was an outstanding fighter and loyal to everyone he met. He believed no one was greater than anyone else; Beowulf showed great respect even to his enemies by fighting them one on one (“Anglo Saxons” 48). Even when Beowulf knows fate is against him and he is going to die; he continues to keep fighting; “…No prince so mild, no man so open to his people, so deserving of praise” (Beowulf 60). Beowulf’s boastful self-confidence, his overpowering strength, and his victories in battle make him a classic legendary hero and a model for the Anglo Saxon culture. A very important element in the society of the Anglo Saxons was the mead hall. The mead hall was essentially a meeting place for dinners, story telling and the party for victories (Bjork 89). The mead hall symbolizes security, fellowship, and all that is good in the world (Bjork 90). The mead hall was thought to be the safest place in the entire Kingdom. In Beowulf the mead hall was described as “the foremost of halls under heaven” (Orchard 77). This mead hall was called Herot serving as a palace for King Hrothgar. This is where Beowulf dismantled Grendel in an epic battle. Beowulf preferred to fight with his bare hands. The...
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