more than use art to rid of unwelcome spirits. Shields, churches, even the handles of swords have been known to have pictures, or art, on them by this time. Much like Egyptians, important members of society would generally be buried with artifacts to keep them protected in the afterlife. Which is a peculiar sight to see since the Anglo-Saxons did not believe the afterlife as pagans, but as stated, they were converted into Christians when the St. Augustine came to the pagans.
The Anglo-Saxon culture came from the ethos which arose from years of progress and understanding. This culture a unification of independent principalities brought together by one king known as Alfred the Great. The true sense of the culture came with the values of loyalty, kinship, and bravery, which present themselves in the epic tale of Beowulf whose violent victory propelled him from mercenary to rightful warrior and respected hero. where the birth of a hero came from the actions of a rightful warrior.
The Anglo-Saxons’ cultures and traditions are rooted in their beliefs of the perfect hero. Their ideal hero has many key characteristics influenced by their culture including courage, strength, bravery, thick skin, loyalty, humbleness, and the ability to create strong trustworthy friendships. Beowulf is an epic poem that exhibits the ideal Anglo-Saxon hero. The Anglo-Saxon traditions illustrated in Beowulf accurately represent the Anglo-Saxon traditions of the time period. This is accomplished through the distinct correlation of heroic characteristics between Beowulf and the culture’s traditional depiction of an Anglo-Saxon hero.
Beowulf ‘s confidence in his abilities and courage to carry out his mission exhibits how he could be considered an epic hero. When he first hears of the Danes’ plight with the monster Grendel, Beowulf wastes no time in “his plan to sail the swan’s road and seek out that king” who desperately needs assistance in his troubles (Heaney 201-202). He eagerly accepts his call to action, wasting no time in ensuring King Hrothgar of his “awesome strength” and exhibiting an unwavering self-assurance as he recalls how he “battled and bound five beasts” (Heaney 418-420). In these first encounters with the hero, it is evident that Beowulf’s defining characteristics include his courage and pride. There is no fear or reluctance in his attempt for glory,
The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of an Anglo Saxon hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters many monsters and horrible beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are outstanding and he is even able to boast about all his achievements. Beowulf is the ultimate epic hero who risks his life countless times for glory which to him meant eternal life.
Beowulf is one of the oldest poems in history, it was originally written in Anglo-Saxon, and it was told orally with many literary devices so it could be remembered throughout generations. It shows what their society was based on back in the Anglo-Saxon era. Although throughout history the poem has been changed to fit our modern day society. For example, having different values and morals and how we look at religion has all changed. In the Beowulf poem and movie there are many similarities and differences in Religion, Characterization, and Morals it highlights the value and beliefs of each society.
Every culture has its own set of beliefs values and customs. Cultural beliefs, values, and assumptions are directly and indirectly acquired throughout a lifetime. A culture is the sum of a group’s way of life and this is no different with the ancient Anglo Saxon culture. Cultures usually have distinct figures that reflect their culture as a whole. The importance of religion, values, and heroes are reflected a great deal in the epic poem of Beowulf accurately showing the Anglo Saxon culture as a whole.
Many people wonder how you could possibly compare an ancient Anglo-Saxon culture with the sophisticated world that we live in today. Despite numerous cultural and technological advancements, the time of Beowulf and modern day have many similarities. When examining the two cultures closely, it is observed that they have not so much changed as they have evolved. Having an army, fearing literal and hypothetical monsters, and the joy of different forms of entertainment are three of the most common and obvious resemblances. Although, Beowulf took place in the fifth century, our current day society has significant similarities to this time period.
Although viewed as ruthless savages, the Anglo-Saxon culture was not founded on the sole idea of barbaric brutality. The Anglo-Saxon beliefs were established by loyalty, generosity, and valor. As a result, the people of the Anglo-Saxon culture lived life by these ideals which created a great thirst for fame in being the best version of themselves. If one was decent at fighting, they would train to be the best fighter they could be, or if someone was intelligent they would devise complex riddles to boast of their intelligence. In order to fulfill their beliefs, there were many aspects of the Anglo-Saxon culture that were not only prevalent in their day to day life, they were expressed through their literature as well. In Beowulf, the
Beowulf is a classic story of a hero. His immense strength allows him to complete impossible deeds, and his honorable personality and strong moral compass means he is focused on helping people, not on winning glory. Beowulf’s strength as a hero beyond physical strength is exemplified by his extreme stubbornness and persistence when faced with a difficult challenge. His battles follow the arc of his character development, from a minor hero to a powerful and loved king with his conquests being so important in the warrior-culture which he lived in.
The epic hero Beowulf also extrudes great strength and power. Lines 110-111 in the poem state “the strongest of the Geats- greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world.” Also in lines 246-248 he tells about his men seeing his strength for themselves, rising from the darkest of war, and dripping with his enemy’s blood showing Hrothgar that others have seen his strength. When Beowulf went to the bottom of the lake to kill Grendel’s mother and bring back a trophy, he swam back up carrying Grendel’s head by himself along with part of a sword yet it took four of his men to
Strength is without a doubt one of the most important traits which a hero should possess and the Anglo-Saxon’s felt the same way. Beowulf’s strength can be compared to that of the American comic book heroes, Superman and Batman, for he is deemed the “strongest and greatest of the Geats”. The first time that his strength is witnessed, not just spoken of, is when he kills Grendel by ripping the monstrous villain’s arm off. But his most notable display of strength occurs when he enters into combat with Grendel’s mother. When everything seems to be going all wrong for Beowulf, he spies a “heavy” sword hanging on the wall of her lair. With all his power and might, Beowulf drew the sword, “hammered by giants...and….so massive that no ordinary man could life it”, from its scabbard. He “lifts it high over his head”, the sword clasped
Beowulf consciously chooses to act in a superhuman manner: “I shall perform the deeds of a hero or I have passed my last day in this mead hall.” Even Grendel recognizes the hero’s superior strength: “The criminal knew he had not met in this middle-earth another with such a grip.” Other warriors when thinking of Beowulf “would quickly compose a skillful tale in words.” Hrothgar refers to Beowulf as “the best of warriors.” The Danish queen Wealhtheow compliments after Grendel’s defeat, “You have earned forever the praise of men from near and far.” Hrothgar expounds on good warriors: “This is the best-born man – my friend Beowulf … the best of warriors.” When the dragon burns the mead hall of the Geats and Beowulf prepares to retaliate, he “scorned a host, a large army … he didn’t fear the dragon’s war …” Beowulf is also superior in a moral sense: When Hygelac’s wife Hygd previously offered Beowulf the kingdom, he declined to accept because there was a legitimate heir to the throne. Beowulf’s example of extreme heroism motivates others to extraordinary deeds: Wiglaf, seeing Beowulf’s strength compromised by the dragon’s fire, risks his life to aid Beowulf in his final battle. It is obvious that the hero possesses superhuman qualities. As
The epic tale of Beowulf was written sometime after his death. In other words, a long time ago during the Anglo-Saxon period. Today, directors in Hollywood did not keep from creating their own rendition of this epic poem As a result, plenty of modern interpretations of Beowulf, such as Sturla Gunnarsson’s Beowulf and Grendel, have been released. Naturally, the cultural values that might be reflected in modern Beowulf renditions will demonstrate a clash with those of the original fifth century Beowulf literature. One reason for this is that in the modern age we value characters with profound characteristics, characters that change due to the challenges they experience; characters that we as the audience can attach to. Flat characters like those of the original Beowulf text are difficult to empathize with since they are not realistic enough for our standards. Due to these differences in culture and values, the Beowulf and Grendel from the original Beowulf text possess definite contrasts when compared with their Beowulf and Grendel counterparts.