Germanic Tribal Characterisitcs of Beowulf

Topics: Beowulf, Germanic peoples, Virtue Pages: 3 (893 words) Published: February 14, 2006
The epic poem of Beowulf represents a Germanic ideal of heroism and virtue important to the early tribes outside the Roman Empire. In this culture, men who faced difficult challenges, the strongest and bravest warriors, were exulted chieftains and often looked to for leadership. While many might consider Beowulf a proud and arrogant man, he was a hero to the Germanic tribes. The character of Beowulf embodies the very values and ideals of what a hero was to the Germanic peoples. Through his respect to kinship, bravery, honor, strength, and intelligence, Beowulf offers to Germanic men a model of a great warrior and leader, a model every man should strive to emulate.

Early Germanic social organization revolved first and foremost around kin and family, the first quality found in Beowulf. Early on in the story, Beowulf traveled from Geat to help the Danish king, Hrothgar, an old friend of Beowulf's father . Beowulf's father died when Beowulf was very young, so it is likely that Beowulf knew very little of his father, or his father's friends like Hrothgar. Despite this fact, Beowulf realized that his father's friend needed help desperately. Traveling far to his aid, Beowulf kept an alliance with Hrothgar that his father had made earlier. The fact that this event took place within the first section of the story shows how important alliances and respect of alliances of one's kin was to Germanic men. Beowulf's honoring of the friendships showed not only his respect to Hrothgar, but the ultimate respect he had for his father and what his father had done in his life. In addition, as seen in line 345, Beowulf refers to Hrothgar as "Halfdane's son. " This shows how much respect the people of Beowulf's time had for leaders of the househould. Beowulf highly respected his family's traditions, as is evident in his aid to Hrothgar.

In addition to his honor, one of the outstanding qualities seen in Beowulf is his overwhelming bravery. He first demonstrated his...
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