Theme Of Gift Giving In Beowulf

735 Words 3 Pages
In the epic poem, Beowulf, there were many instances where gifting giving took place. Gift giving symbolizes wealth and power in Anglo-Saxon history and translate in Beowulf in the same fashion. Throughout Beowulf, gift giving is a reoccurring theme happening multiples times to make apparent relationships, fulfilling the heroic code, and drawing parallels to Anglo-Saxon history.
One of the most prevalent reasons of gift giving in Beowulf is to cement the alliances and relationships between warriors. When Beowulf arrives in in the kingdom of the Spear-Danes, King Hrothgar mentions that he once knew Beowulf’s father, Ecgtheow and helped him out of an unfavourable predicament by providing gifts on Ecgtheow’s behalf. This transaction between Hrothgar
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This show of gratitude from Hrothgar shows how thankful and impressed he is with Beowulf. Riches and treasures given from the King aren’t granted to everyone so the gifts he bestows upon Beowulf should be received with great kindness and respect. Beowulf doesn’t keep all the gifts from Hrothgar for himself. Beowulf takes them and upon returning to Geatland, gives some to his own king, Hygelac. Where it is apparent how much of a noble warrior Beowulf is. To further grant greatness upon Beowulf, King Hygelac gives Beowulf richest from his own treasury. These numerous interactions of gifts and wealth between these three men show great admiration between them and strengthen the alliance that the two kingdoms share.
The theme of the heroic code is ever present in Beowulf. Not only is the heroic code about strength, courage and honour, it’s also about loyalty and generosity. Through the process of gift giving it shows to everyone that a person is both loyal to the warrior to provide them with gifts and the person is generous enough to do so. The same could be said about the receiving end of the gifts. In Beowulf’s case he accepts these gifts and even passes some along showing his loyalty and generosity to his king and the people following him. Upon Beowulf’s death bed he
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He is leaving his people with wealth and treasures.
Not only in gift giving an important symbol in Beowulf, but it is just as important in Anglo-Saxon history. Kjahdfkjhasf states that gift during the middle ages existed as something akin to sale, rent, tribute and other forms of payment. In a way the exchange of gifts in Beowulf are a form of payment. For some of the not as privileged villager’s coins were the simplest forms of gifts. One could even argue now that modern form of payment in money is a kind of gift. Gifts giving on a larger scale were also more of a public event, as such in Beowulf. The gift giving ceremonies took place in formal, public settings and sometimes with a ceremony or special form of presentation.
Throughout Beowulf, gift givings were done for many different reasons. By giving gifts two or more people could renew their alliance, strengthening them for battles ahead. Gifts were a way to symbolize the fulfillment of the heroic code, being able to pass treasure down to one's offspring or to spread it back into the kingdom. And the parallel that giving gifts in Beowulf translates to the modern middle ages where similar forms of payment take place to one day evolve into what there is

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