Beowulf: The Anglo-Saxon Culture Changed By Burton Raffel

1068 Words 5 Pages
Anglo-Saxon culture considers heroes vital with the warrior prevailing. Beowulf, translated by Burton Raffel, verifies the Anglo-Saxon culture with Beowulf vanquishing the monsters, including Grendel. Beowulf comes to the Danes to help defeat Grendel, the giant monster killing men while they slept. As a warrior, Beowulf enjoys the thrills of fighting and being known by the community as their hero. Although Beowulf succeeds in overpowering Grendel, the true victory to him includes being seen as a hero through the battle. Without an afterlife in traditional pagan religion, the warriors needed to prove themselves worthy before their death, which Beowulf does by defeating Grendel helping the community. Because their culture is dominated by Pagan …show more content…
The warriors emerge or are chosen once they prove their bravery to the rest of the community. Beowulf achieves this very quickly by not only fighting in the wars, but also being a leader of the other warriors. Beowulf selects “the mightiest men” and the “bravest and best of the Geats”(Beowulf 120-121). As a leader, Beowulf had to pick only the men who he thought worthy to be given the chance to prove their bravery in battle. A man can only become a warrior if they acquire the title of bravery, a very highly valued trait, from the community. Beowulf’s bravery appears through the description of his earlier battles since the people watch him “rise from the darkness of war,/ Dripping with [his] enemies’ blood” (151-153). Beowulf shows his bravery to the community in prior battles with his power and strength, which allows him to become a leader and pick the next men. Beowulf in a prior battle overcomes the dark depths of war with his bravery and can still defeat the enemy. The previous battle illustrates that the symbol of bravery becomes more emphasized because of the dark depths of the war and that Beowulf did not get distracted with the struggles of the war. Although he was let down by his choices of men, when he was fading away toward death only one man, Wiglaf, was brave enough to assist him. Wiglaf proved his bravery by …show more content…
In pagan tradition, they do not believe in an afterlife, so the heroes and warriors must leave a legacy before they die in battle. The community considers dying in battle the actions of a true warrior. Beowulf was able to leave a legacy since “The victory, for the proof, hanging high/ From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s/ Arm, claw and shoulder and all” (Beowulf 515-517). When Beowulf fights with Grendel, he mars Grendel’s arm and now keeps it hung on the wall to show that he was the one and only to defeat Grendel, the monster. Hanging the arm on the wall proves that he created a legacy while they live, but Beowulf wants something more than just the trophy of Grendel’s arm. Although Beowulf wants to establish his legacy before his death, he also wants distinct recognition in years to come, so he asks that “On this spit of land, so sailors can see/ This tower, and remember [Beowulf’s] name, and call it/ Beowulf’s tower” (813-815). Wiglaf kneels by Beowulf’s side at his death and assures him that he will not be forgotten since the formation of his legacy is successful. A tower named after Beowulf would allow the community to remember him and signifies that his legacy will prevail. People create their legacy before their death and prove themselves to be warriors, just like Beowulf, through wars, making battles

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