As we take a look back at the origins of literature throughout the Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066), we see that many of their narratives, stories were simply passed down orally due to the lack of education prior to the era of Christianity. During the Anglo- Saxon Era literature initially began to be written down by the monks of the Christian Monasteries. The Anglo-Saxons contributed many details to human nature. The Anglo-Saxons named our modern day weekdays after Greek Gods. Heroism within an epic poem was often present during this period. Epic poetry was categorized as either elegiac or heroic. Elegiac poetry consists of a feeling of mourning or sorrow due to the loss or lack of something. Heroic poetry contains several aspects of morality and life threatening situations where the hero, of course, eliminates the threat of danger therefore suggesting his heroism. One of the most popular epic poems of this time period is Beowulf. Throughout the epic, Beowulf, certain ideals of conduct were stressed; Allegiance to lord and king, Love of glory as the ruling motive of every noble life, and the overall belief in the inevitability of fate were among those discussed.
Allegiance, or loyalty, if you will, to lord and king is often mentioned in Beowulf. Due to the loyalty shown to Hrothgar, in Beowulf, by the warriors during their successful victory in war, he built Herot, the mead-hall for their convenience. Later on in the epic, Wiglaf, Beowulf’s warrior returned to Beowulf in spite of the rest of his warrior band’s decision to turn their back on him during his time of need as the fire dragon gained the upper hand, displays Beowulf’s confrontation with the fire dragon, loyalty toward Beowulf. By not f...
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...giance to lord and king, Love of glory as the ruling motive of every noble life, and the overall belief in the inevitability of fate were the main Anglo-Saxon ideals included throughout the epic poem, Beowulf. Even today, we find that boasting and bragging are as, evident or maybe even a little more evident, now than during the Anglo-Saxon Period. Fate is usually a matter of interpretation depending on the religious background of a person. Some think that fate can be controlled, but this contradicts the very definition of the ideal of fate. Others choose not to associate with the ideal of fate, which is completely their prerogative. Maybe allegiance to our present day “lords and kings” (leaders) isn’t evident enough. Life can seem as a simple strategy game and those who place their game pieces in the best position are to be successful and essentially heroic.
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