Beowulf And The Anglo Saxon Culture Essay

Beowulf And The Anglo Saxon Culture Essay

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Weaponry: The Significance in Beowulf and The Anglo-Saxon Culture



In this essay, I will uncover the countless insights that can be learned about the characters in Beowulf, as well as the society as a whole, based on the weapons chosen to use in battle by the characters. During the Anglo-Saxon time, roughly between 400 and 1066, the most precious weapon someone could own was a sword. Although it is not certain when, and by whom, Beowulf was written; many people believe it was composed in the middle to end of the Anglo-Saxon period. Analyzing the different weapons, and significance of each, in Beowulf, and comparing them to the weaponry at the time, provides the readers with a great deal of insight into the society during this period. The use of weapons in Beowulf not only provides the readers with insight into the characteristics of the many people using them, but also about society as a whole. Many different types of weapons are used in Beowulf, which can identify the class of the character, respect he or she carries within society, among many other aspects.

During the Anglo-Saxon time, swords were very expensive and time-consuming to craft, resulting in only wealthy men owning one. Within the poem, swords, at one level, are used as a symbol of reward and gratitude. After Beowulf heroically kills Grendel, Hrothgar repays him with a sword, described as, “a victory gift … that was both precious object and a token of honor” (pg. 62 1020-1023). This sword represents Beowulf’s brave battle with Grendel, in which he chose to fight without a weapon, to avoid an unfair advantage. Beowulf is portrayed as inhuman because of his phenomenal strength, murdering a monstrous beast with his bare hands, and rewarded with an object unnecessary...


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...orting the Anglo-Saxon culture. Due to his age, the battle between Beowulf and the dragon cost him his life, but to both Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons, it was worth it.

Beowulf is thought to be a great king and a great warrior. He put his life at risk on many occasions to protect his people, he exhibited extreme strength and bravery, which gained him respect, and which ultimately lead to his reining. Not only is Beowulf a superior fighter, he knows his weaknesses, especially those that come with age, and is aware when he needs assistance, specifically using a weapon when his physical strength is not sufficient. Beowulf’s behaviour provides a great deal of insight into his character, and how he follows the Anglo-Saxon culture. Although we are unaware of who wrote Beowulf, we are able to assume the significant influence the Anglo-Saxons had during this time.

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