Exile In Anglo Saxon Culture

Decent Essays

Since the formation of the Anglo-Saxon community, the Anglo-Saxon people had developed a culture of values, standards, and themes that laid the foundation of their society. Their code of moral values as well as respect for lineage shaped their societal structure and hierarchy. The bretwalda being the leader of the community as the “gold giver” who is generous to his people and his warriors connecting through comitatus, male tribal bonding. The epic “Beowulf,” the main character, Beowulf, encounters the values of the Anglo-Saxon culture throughout his journey and embodies them in his own personal experiences. More specifically, “Beowulf” focuses on the theme of exile prominent in Anglo-Saxon culture, and the character Beowulf personifies the …show more content…

In contrast to Beowulf, Grendel is of an immoral lineage, that of Cain who killed his own brother. Grendel’s lineage is the reason why he is exiled from Hrothgar’s kingdom and forced to live in the darkness of a swamp. This Anglo-Saxon value of lineage is crucial to “Beowulf” and sets up Grendel as the villain and Beowulf as the hero. Andy Moore discusses Grendel’s exile saying, “We see that perhaps Grendel was sorrowful and bitter that he had been banished as the seed of Cain…Prehaps he wants to have a community, to have happiness, to cure his loneliness, CITE” This exile is what causes his to act out against Hrothgar’s kingdom and the concept of exile is not new to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Exile is seen in the Seafarer and the Wanderer; both portray a person who is either in self-exile or forced exile and is lost and is looking for a home. Andre Galloway continues the thought by stating, “This decorum [of stylistic and …show more content…

Beowulf is depicted as the strongest of his people the Geats and a brave, honorable warrior of a lineage of great warriors who seeks fame and glory. Upon introducing himself to Hrothgar, Beowulf enters and greets the King with respect and politeness proclaiming, “Hail Hrothgar!”(CITE), Beowulf’s first words of introduction are words of praise to his host and loyalty to Hrothgar. He continues with an air of arrogance speaking of his former battles, “the days of my youth have been filled with glory…[They] have watched me rise from the darkness of war.”(CITE), Beowulf speaks of his experience in war and strength and displays his speaking abilities and boldness of character. Andy Moore discusses the passage, “Beowulf’s speech…teaches us a great deal. We see Beowulf’s impressive battle résumé. We see his confidence, in that he will fight this monster hand to hand with no weapons. He is also well spoken, no shy about detailing victories.” The Anglo-Saxons admired victory in war and exaggerated Beowulf’s strength to that of thirty men in each arm exemplifying their admiration of raw strength. This raw strength is displayed when Beowulf battles Grendel and is able to tear Grendel’s arm off with his bare hands. Then later he is portrayed as the chosen one who, similar to King Arthur, is the only one able to wield the sword Hrunting. His ability to

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