The Importance Of Death In Beowulf

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Fame has always been people’s motivation and ultimate goal for thousands of years. While it can be achieved in many different ways and is regarded differently by all cultures, fame is constantly strived for. Some of the first stories concerning famous people and warriors came from the Anglo Saxons that controlled England for almost 600 years, from 449 AD until 1042 AD. In their culture they greatly admired and celebrated the heroes that were able to obtain fame, which is displayed in the epic Beowulf. All of their acclaimed warriors had many similar characteristics that allowed them to become memorable in their civilization, including their incessant search for fame. These characteristics differ based on each civilization’s individual culture, …show more content…
No matter the challenge a warrior faces or how difficult it may be, “he who can earn it should fight / for the glory of his name; fame after death / is the noblest of goals” (1387-1389). In Anglo Saxon culture, shying away from a task is seen as form of cowardice, and it brings dishonor onto one’s race. If a warrior does not defend or fight to honor their heritage, their name will be tainted and they will never be able to achieve any recognition for their actions. The noble warrior Beowulf, the protagonist in the epic Beowulf, demonstrates his lifelong search for fame when he explains his reasoning for slaying Grendel’s mother. Beowulf proclaims that he wants “to seek still greater glory / deep in the swirling waves, to win / still higher fame, and the gifts [Hrothgar] would give me” (2132-2134). A strong, distinguished warrior like Beowulf is always pursuing the next challenging battle in order to cement his superiority and legacy. He also establishes the large role that gifts and wealth have in making a warrior notable. The more treasures and riches one has in the Anglo Saxon society, the more fame and glory that warrior has already earned. In order to become a glorious, successful leader, one needs to receive a substantial amount of treasure, which, along with eternal fame, are Beowulf’s reasonings behind risking his life so frequently. Additionally, once an Anglo Saxon warrior achieves fame, the songwriters of the day, known as scops, tell stories of the great, honored heroes around the world. Many established scops “had heard songs of the ancient heroes and could sing them all through”, and all warriors wanted one of them “to weave a net of words...tying the knot of [their] verses smoothly, swiftly, into place…” for them (868-872). Warriors want to be remembered for their glory, and having a scop regularly

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