Germanic Culture Preserved in Beowulf

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Germanic Culture Preserved in Beowulf

Many differences can be found between early Germanic culture and our culture today. Beowulf,the story of the triumphs of a great warrior over near impossible feats, takes place in Scandanavia during the 450s. In this tale, the war obsessed men exhibit values important to the early Germanic culture. Recording such an epic tale not only immortalizes the hero of the poem, but in turn also makes certain that these Scandanavian ways of life will never be forgotten. Their morals, while on the surface seem wrong compared to those found in society today, make sense to them because of the unwritten rules they have set up. The differences in these cultures make it difficult for people today to find interest in the values found in early Germanic times. Including Germanic values of courage, loyalty, and revenge in the story of Beowulf both teaches and preserves the early Germanic culture for future generations to learn from.

An important aspect of life for the people in the poem, courage, made clear by the heroic deeds of Beowulf and later, Wiglaf, as well as the contrasting Unferth. Often looked at as a savior of the kingdom of Hrothgar, Beowulf represents the highest level of valor as a result of his accomplishments. Making the character so loved by the people he has saved shows the impact that courageousness has on the people of this time period. When facing his various challenges, where cowardly men would crack under pressure, he succeeds by summoning up the courage to continue, despite the odds that go against him. Later, the earl Wiglaf exhibits the same level of bravery as Beowulf once did, saving his king from the mighty dragon. Unlike the other men who refuse to help in the matter, Beowulf makes sure that rewards of fame, fortune, a promotion in rank, and the verbal trophy of becoming immortalized through story present themselves to Wiglaf. Just as the inclusion of courage in the repertoire of a warrior has a great...
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