Anglo Saxon Values In Beowulf

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Anglo Saxon society revolves around violence: constant fighting, the revenge ethic, pride in battle. Despite seeming like the most qualified leader would take the throne, warrior kings inherently were driven by these same values to be overly prideful and violent. This is apparent in Beowulf, where Beowulf himself can not manage to both follow this warrior code and successfully survive. Despite doing everything he can to be a good king, his need for honor and glory drives him to make reckless decisions. In Beowulf, the anonymous author kills Beowulf- the epitome of Anglo Saxon values- ultimately suggesting that living by Anglo Saxon values does not allow for a stable society.
Based on religion, honor, and glory, Anglo saxon values focus on …show more content…

Anglo Saxon values are centered around honor and pride, with God as their ultimate protector, depicting their culture as one full of constant battle. Anglo Saxon culture credits everything to God, which highlights how religious this culture is. When discussing who is in control of society,Hrothgar tells Beowulf that “[God] possesses power over all things” (Anon 325). Not only do these people believe in a higher power, but they believe that God protects men in battle, and provides them safe travels. Since they believe that God “possesses” this power over them, they essentially believe that they belong to God. They accredit all aspects of life to God, and try to serve him in every way they can. Furthermore, an Anglo Saxon expert asserts that in Anglo Saxon culture, honor and pride are highly valued, yet can …show more content…

The Anglo Saxon value of revenge ethic is dangerous, and inherently results in an endless cycle of violence. Hildeburh lost both her son and her husband to the revenge ethic, and this caused a cycle of violence between clans. (Anon 71-76). The revenge ethic inevitably punishes all in an endless cyclical pattern of violence; when one attacks, the other shortly follows. Following this code in its essence leads to constant death and feuding, which accomplishes nothing other than more violence. Thus, Anglo Saxon culture rewards violence with the idea that pride and honor can be won through avenging deaths, which demonstrates how dangerous a culture focused on war-based pride can be. The excessive pride that Anglo Saxon warriors have blinds them to reality, and prevents them from seeing the true risk of their plight. Despite the known power of this demon, Beowulf, when fighting Grendel, refuses to use a sword (Anon 52-54). Grendel killed many men who came to fight him with swords and other various weapons, and Beowulf was well aware of this fact. However, he makes the conscious decision to go into battle unarmed. Since he succeeded in doing without a sword what other men could not do with one, he gets more pride and prestige; it proves his

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