Four Anglo-Saxon Values of Beowulf’s Character
Genuinely admired men of great courage lived by four core Anglo-Saxon values: courage, loyalty, generosity, and courtesy. These four important values were the foundation of their culture. They also had an eminent affect on the integrity of warriors of this time period. Scops told tales of these values, giving the warriors the ability to go on to the battlefield with no fear of dying; to hold nothing back as they fought. It made them feel perpetual, and if they were to die then it was a sacrifice to their country. A warrior, who displayed astounding adherence to these values in the epic poem, is Beowulf. The title character demonstrated courage, loyalty, generosity, and courtesy thoroughly.
Loyalty formed the backbone of Anglo-Saxon society and was the only way in which law and order could be maintained and people protected. When a man's oath of loyalty is broken, it is a betrayal to the highest value of the society. Beowulf adheres to loyalty by not assuming the throne until after Herdred’s death.
Their king – then, when Higd’s one son
Was gone, Beowulf ruled in Geatland,
Took the throne he’d refused, once,
And held it long and well.(92)
Loyalty is clearly illustrated through Beowulf’s character from knowing it is not the right and respectful action to take because he is not the direct royal bloodline. He knew when to accept his fate as becoming ruler of the Geats. Certain aspects of his persona combined to construct a consummate king.
Courage was a piece of Beowulf’s persona. True courage is the ability to stand up to overwhelming odds with perseverance and determination. A phenomenal example of this is during the fight with the dragon.
And for the first time in his life that famous prince
Fought with fate against him, with glory
Denied him. He knew it but he raised his sword
And struck at the dragon’s scaly hide.(104)
The dragon renewed Beowulf’s courage from...