One of the main reasons we study literature from different cultures and different times is to learn about the people who wrote the stories down. From “Beowulf”, we can speculate on the values, religion and culture of Anglo-Saxon people through the values of allegiance to lord and king, love of glory as the ruling motive of every noble life, and the inevitability of fate.
In Beowulf the warriors were sworn to protect and serve their lord and in exchange for such allegiance. Hrothgar was expected to bestow riches and social standing upon them. This allegiance and reward is an important theme in the book. Loyalty was shown to Hrothgar by his warriors so he built Herot for their convenience. Wiglaf returned to Beowulf despite his men’s decision to turn their back on him during his time of need because he is loyal to Beowulf. Anglo-Saxons believed in allegiance to their lord and king so they would be rewarded with protection
Love of glory, fame, and recognition was important to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Beowulf displays examples of boasting. He shows his heroic characteristics as he boasts before Hrothgar and first says, “Hail, Hrothgar!” He also portrays heroism as he come across Unferth, where explaining the swimming event with Brecca allowed him to boast about his strength and physical abilities. After defeating Grendel he displays Grendel’s arm to show his victory. Fate is what determines one’s future, success or failure, is an often used aspect throughout this epic. Beowulf symbolizes fate as the determining factor of who will win the battle saying that God will decide what will happen. Allegiance to lord and king, Love of glory as the ruling motive of every noble life, and the overall belief in the inevitability of fate were the main Anglo-Saxon ideals. Fate is a matter of interpretation depending on the religious background of a person. Fate can not be controlled. “Life can seem as a simple strategy game and those who place their game pieces in the best...
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