A Civilized Society

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A Civilized Society

What is the meaning of a society? A historian might say a society is a group of people living in an ordered community that has a hierarchy. An adult might say that a society is a community of people that have certain jobs and a community that has schools for their children to go to. A child might not even know what the meaning of society is. Their answers differ because there is not a book written in history that clearly defines what a society is. But when “society” is narrowed down into “civilized” society, it is here that agreements are distinguished. Most people agree that the time and place they live in at this present moment is civilized, even though spirits are still believed in. This also means that time periods that are not considered “civilized” in today’s terms, are considered civilized to the people living in that time period. In the book Beowulf, a book written in the seventh or eight century by an anonymous author, there are two societies, the Danes, who reside in Denmark, and the Geats, who reside in southern Sweden. This book is named after a person; not surprisingly, this person is named Beowulf, a Geat who later becomes the king of the Geats. The Anglo-Saxon society in the book Beowulf is civilized because they believe in monsters and their leaders and group members have clear expectations.

One might be surprised that a civilized society believes in monsters, however, even societies today believe in monsters through television. Societies today create horror movies purely for entertainment; however, it is a known fact that the monsters in the horror movies are not real. On that note, the anonymous author of Beowulf may have written the book purely for the entertainment of his people, all the while knowing that monsters do not exist, after all, it is probably the closest thing his society has to watching a horror movie. Grendel, the first monster Beowulf fights, is “conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain...
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