Values And Values In Beowulf

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“Beowulf”, translated by Burton Raffel and Seamus Heaney, is an epic poem from the 700’s AD about the adventures of Beowulf, an ideal Anglo-Saxon hero. The poem goes through Beowulf’s fight with the monster Grendel and his mother and ends with his fight with a dragon and his death. “Beowulf” shows many important values and beliefs of Anglo-Saxon society. The epic poem constantly conveys these values and beliefs throughout Beowulf’s adventures. The Anglo-Saxon values of courage, material wealth as a reflection of character, and family background are evident from the epic poem “Beowulf” through the statements and behaviors of characters and the direct statements by the narrator. Beowulf’s repeated display of courage clearly reveals an important …show more content…
Beowulf recognizes how great of an opponent Grendel when he says, “ ‘that the monster’s scorn of men / Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none’ ” (Raffel 25), but is still able to say that he will go against Grendel. A person who lacks courage would not be able to say they will fight a monster who they know doesn’t fear any man. However, Beowulf is able to say this because he conveys the important Anglo-Saxon value of courage. Once again, Beowulf shows the Anglo-Saxon value of courage. Beowulf again shows courage when he goes to fight the dragon, who was angered by a thief who stole one of his treasures:

“This fight is not
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I shall win the gold by my courage, or else mortal combat, doom of battle, will bear your lord away.” (Heaney 43-44)

Beowulf is taking responsibility for another man’s actions by going to fight the dragon. He knows that he might not win the battle when he says, “ ‘or else mortal combat, / doom of battle, will bear your lord away.’ ” (Heaney 43-44), but is still about to go into a fight. Beowulf going up against this monster shows the important Anglo-Saxon value of courage. A person who goes into a battle who knows that they might not be alive after is a person who exemplifies courage, and Beowulf is an example of that person. The repetition of Beowulf showing courage indicates the importance of courage in Anglo-Saxon society. In addition to courage, the Anglo-Saxons highly valued material wealth as a reflection of character. This is evident when the narrator describes Hrothgar’s wife, Welthow, when she is serving the Danes drinks:

Then Welthow, Hrothgar’s gold-ringed queen, greeted The warriors; a noble warrior who knew What was right, she raised a flowing

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