Dating back to the stone ages, humans have always instinctively expressed their feelings and emotions through some sort of art or words, thus the beginning of literature. The people of the Anglo Saxon era used poetry predominantly as an expression of life at war and heroic actions. Beowulf relies heavily on using characters to express itself as cultural value and symbolism to show the significant concept of the poem; this is done through using creativity, resilience, bravery and perseverance.
The Anglo Saxon time period was highly enthused by bravery, as a way of proving one’s self. This is a key element in the use of characters and their plot. Beowulf, of course being the main character, carries the most important role throughout this epic poem through his actions. He was one of the greatest warriors, dedicated to his king Hygelac. He comes to aid Hrothgar and Scyld after Grendel attacks Mead Hall on account for 12 years. Upon one of his nights there, Sycld drunkenly recalls that Beowulf had once lost a swimming competition to a former friend through the sea. Here Beowulf shows his dignity by commenting that the two swimmers were separated by a storm, and that he had slain nine sea monsters before returning. His attitude in relevance to his response, shows that he carries himself well in which any true warrior should. Melissa Snell noted, “While he displays enough bravado to inspire hope in the Scyldings, he is still courteous”(Snell1). His noble and courteous authority later brings him to reign over Geat. The moral for this can relate to the moving of rank, by which he did fairly through successful triumphs over dragons. Snell also said, “Beowulf's only flaw manifests in the latter part of the poem, when he decides to face ...
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.... Land symbolizes a sense of region of homeland, although with no clear distinction besides ones sense of national pride possibly; “A prince’s son, for instance ‘should prosper, succeed to his father’s rank, guard the people, treasure-hoard and stronghold, the realm [rice] of heroes, homeland of the Scylding” (910-13). This symbolizes the expectations from a King then. Land is something of highest value to people that notice its riches, then and now.
Beowulf is one of the best, and of few, examples today that we have to understand not only the use of characters but also the symbols that they stand for.
Without the use of symbolism it would be hard to portray how the Anglo Saxon era was expressed through war life and heroic deeds. The heroic figure of Beowulf shares the true guts of a warrior to the reader and has carried a sense of bravery into today’s world.
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