Beowulf : Strength, Courage, And Leadership Essay

1509 Words Nov 1st, 2016 7 Pages
In the poem Beowulf, the main character Beowulf shows strength, courage, and leadership. Throughout the poem, Beowulf personifies Anglo-Saxon honor and acts accordingly in all of his interactions with others. Beowulf is heroic in his deeds, wise in his leadership, and always follows the honor code. This honor code was extremely important in Anglo-Saxon society and one of the main themes of the poem explores the negative consequences of not following the code. The monster Grendel exemplifies everything considered dishonorable in Anglo-Saxon society. Through him, we can see what the Anglo-Saxons considered negative character traits. Grendel is described as a fatherless descendant of Cain. He “had dwelt for a time In misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed And condemned as outcasts” (105 – 107). Later, Grendel’s mother is introduced, but no information is given about his father. Anglo-Saxon society puts a large emphasis on lineage, specifically patrilineage. In Anglo-Saxon society, the deeds of the father reflect directly on the son. A positive example of this is seen when the great deeds of Wiglaf’s father are recounted before Wiglaf’s own honorable and daring rush to help Beowulf fight the dragon. However, Grendel is denied any honor to be gained by the deeds of his father because his father is unknown. Although apparently fatherless, Grendel is known to be a descendant of Cain, the original murderer. Even though Cain is not Grendel’s…

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