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Analysis Of Beowulf As The Typical Anglo Saxon Hero.

794 words - 3 pages

Beowulf: The Quintessential Anglo-Saxon HeroIn the ancient times when Germanic tribes thrived in Britain, life was a harsh struggle for survival. The people of this era lived under laws influenced by honor and revenge. Warfare and blood feuds were a deep-rooted part of their culture and everyday lives. In this age of fighting for survival, outstanding warriors were of great value. Certain characteristics came to define such a fighter, and were thus highly prized. These ideals were passed on to the descendants of the Germanic peoples, the Anglo-Saxons. Such qualities can to define the Anglo-saxon idea of a hero. These traits are combined into the main character of the tale Beowulf. Beowulf epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon idea of a hero, showing honor, bravery, and Godly grace.Beowulf defines his heroic qualitites by dutifully upholding his honor. Though proud and seemingly arrogant, he always backs up his claims. This is illustrated during his battle with grendel. As Beowulf sees the monster attempt to flee, the hero recalls “his final / Boast and, standing erect, stopped / The monster’s flight…” (ll. 758-60, 123). Beowulf recognizes that he has made statements of his great skill and must live up to them to maintain his honor. Throughout the entire to tale, Beowulf continues to honor his word. Even as he is dying, he tells Wiglaf that he can die happy because he ruled “… as well / As [he] knew how, swearing no unholy oaths, / Seeking no lying wars…” (ll. 2742-41, 137). This strongly portrays the importance of honor to Beowulf, as it shows how he judges the quality of his life. This value of honor is a necessary characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon hero.Another vital heroic characteristic of Beowulf is his courage. He repeatedly acts bravely in situations drastically against his favor. One such situation is his fight with Grendel’s mother. As his weapons and armor fail him, Beowulf does not cosider surrender. Even when the monster has him pinned, blade to his throat, he does not lose his nerve (ll. 1523-56, 129-130). Old age does not erode his brave spirit either. When presented with the challenge of facing the dragon fifty years later, Beowulf proudly tell his companions, “I’ve never known fear; as a youth I fought / In endless battles. I am...

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