Essay about Beowulf Battles: The Death of Comitatus

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In the epic poem of Beowulf, written by an unknown monk in about 725 AD, the Anglo-Saxon virtue of comitatus is displayed as a slowly dying aspect of life. Comitatus is the basic idea that everyone protects the king at all costs even if it means a warrior giving up his own life, and if a king is killed, the warriors must avenge the death of the king or they can no longer serve as warriors for the next king. This value of comitatus is displayed mostly through the three battles that Beowulf encounters during the epic poem. An analysis of the three battles is important because Beowulf’s choice of weapons, behavior of the Thanes, and preparation for and attitude toward battle all emphasize the death of the Anglo-Saxon virtue of …show more content…

1459-1463). This shows Beowulf’s acceptance of the Hrunting sword and his realization that he is not as strong as he used to be so he shall use weapons in his fight against Grendel’s mother. In the battle that Beowulf encountered with the dragon, many weapons are used and the value of comitatus is dead. The narrator states, “The glittering sword, / infallible before that day, / failed when he unsheathed it, as it never should have” (l. 2584-2586). This displays Beowulf’s final use of his sword, which displays as Beowulf ages, his weapons increase, Beowulf knows that he is going to die, and comitatus is dying with him. Beowulf’s support of the Thanes in each of the three challenges displays the fall of Anglo-Saxon loyalty overtime. As the three battles went on, Beowulf’s support of the Thanes became lesser and lesser and by the third battle with the dragon, the idea of comitatus had died. In the battle that Beowulf encountered with Grendel, the Thanes support Beowulf with all of their willpower and there is a very high comitatus. The narrator states, “Through the strength of one they all prevailed, / they would crush their enemy and come through / in triumph and gladness” (l. 698-700). This shows that the Thanes will prevail through and with Beowulf’s strength and they will not let him down, they will defeat Grendel no matter what the circumstance. In the battle that Beowulf encountered with Grendel’s mother, the Thanes

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