Reflections of a Culture Past
The poem, Beowulf was supposedly written in the tenth century, but it was most likely told before then, orally, for centuries. There is little information about the author, on when Beowulf was first created or about the original version of the story before it was written. However the poem does, however, give us great insight into the cultural views and ideals of the Anglo-Saxon people who would have composed and told this tale.
This includes their political, social and moral views. Beyond this, Beowulf gives us an even greater insight into this society of constant fight and war. Interwoven throughout almost every aspect of their culture and the poem are very strict moral codes and values. Those morals and values affect the ideals, beliefs and changes taking place in period.
In the time of the Anglo-Saxons, men shared a common idea of heroic and traditional values that each person should follow. They admired men with outstanding courage and loyalty. Anglo-Saxon men achieved that by completing daring deeds, withstanding harsh conditions and by beating the odds. If a person showed such traits, despite where they came from, they were entitled with a great matter of respect. The traits that they valued were those of a hero. True heroes of the period had to maintain a balance between personal glory and maintaining the good of his people. However one didn’t become a hero just through great accomplishments. They also had to be exemplary individuals with traits such as: loyalty, virtue, valor, wisdom, honor, dignity, heart, strength, and a sense of justice.
The character Beowulf is the embodiment of those ideals. The easiest to see of these is strength. Men of that time period were fearless, fame seeking and most of all, courageous. Those who acquired such qualities would boast of their feats for all to hear. Other obvious virtues that Beowulf carried were those of honor...