AngloSaxon Literature Essay

632 Words 3 Pages
AngloSaxon Literature


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
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The absolute origins of feudalism, which didn’t become into existence until the Medieval Period, began with the Anglo-Saxon belief of allegiance to their lord and king in the act of providence for the king in return for protection. These ideals lead to the importance of one, during this time period, to be recognized by many.
Another Anglo-Saxon ideal demonstrated in Beowulf is the love of glory as the ruling motive of every noble life. Love of glory, fame, and recognition was important to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Beowulf’s reputation suggests, even prior to the “Wrath of Grendel” upon the Danes, that in Sweden, Beowulf’s home place, he was of heroic status. Boasting allowed, before battle, a feeling of confidence. Throughout this epic, Beowulf displays examples of boasting. Upon arrival in Denmark, he shows his heroic characteristics as he boasts before Hrothgar. He first states, “Hail, Hrothgar!” Then continues on to ask permission to battle the horrendous guardian of crime saying “Grant me, then, lord and protector of this noble place, a single request…” He also portrays heroism as he encounters Unferth, where explaining the swimming incident at Brecca allowed him to boast about his strength and physical abilities. After successfully battling the “shepherd of evil”, Grendel, who had tormented the Danes for a long twelve years, he decided to display Grendel’s arm in the rafters of the mead-hall as evidence of his…