The time of the Anglo-Saxons was rife with tribal warfare. This meant that men were expected to be strong fighters capable of protecting and avenging their people. Beowulf certainly has a reputation for strength among his own people. In his initial boast to Hrothgar, he proclaims that “all knew of [his] awesome strength” after seeing him “boltered in the blood of enemies” (418) However, the reader is not forced to simply believe this remarkable claim. Being the quintessential warrior, Beowulf demonstrates superior and perhaps superhuman strength throughout the text. The clearest example of his tremendous power occurs when he rips Grendel’s arm off with his bare hands, causing “sinews [to] split and the bone-lappings [to] burst” (817). None of the strongest Dane warriors with their iron weaponry could defeat Grendel, but Beowulf just waltzes in and rips the monster’s arm off. This makes it abundantly clear that Beowulf possesses a great amount of strength and that that is admired by his culture.
Because of the tumultuous nature of life in the Daphne Weiss
English 11 Honors
29 August 2015
Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Values
Heroes in epics typically exemplify the values of a particular culture, and the eponymous protagonist of Beowulf is no different. Beowulf is ...
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...) in response to the dragon’s attacks so that the outcome “will turn out as fate, / overseer of men, decides” (2526-27). Once again, Beowulf acknowledges that he might not win the battle, but rather than running from the fight or attempting to sway the odds in his favor, he allows it to play out as it will. That may seem ludicrous to the modern reader, but the Anglo-Saxons would have considered it to be the height of courage.
Anglo-Saxon values were heavily influenced by the unstable, war-filled culture of the time. This environment led to an emphasis on loyalty, strength, and courage in the face of death. Beowulf is depicted in the text as being a “good king” and an even better warrior who protects his people and wins battles that no one else can. His actions and words throughout the poem clearly demonstrate the values that were important to the Anglo-Saxon people.
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