Greed In Beowulf By Anonymous And The Canterbury Tales

Decent Essays
In Beowulf by Anonymous and The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer greed is one of the main ideas that connect the two. Beowulf was written in the Anglo-Saxon period, and is a mainly Pagan story. The Pagan beliefs in this story are prominent in the way they relate to greed. In The Canterbury Tales the reader can see the direct effect that Christianity has on the idea of Greed. Since Beowulf written in The Middle Ages the two tales compared to one another help the reader see the effect that religion has on people moral, and more specifically their greed. In the Anglo-Saxon period that Beowulf was written in, the reader can clearly see that greed is not connected to money. In the modern use of the word greed it generally relates to a person who posses excessive amounts of money, however in this story having money was connected to generosity: “a young man ought by his good deeds, by giving splendid later make sure [his]...beloved companions will stand by him” (Beowulf 1). Since he is a “brave... man known in battles, of good deeds” he would be viewed as selfish and filled with avarice to deny his talents (Beowulf 38). Due to these beliefs of the time periods it can be expected that Beowulf fulfills the hero’s paradox, since a hero he is expected to fight until the very end. Unless Beowulf is killed in battle he would not be seen as a true hero: “So it is fitting that man honor [Beowulf]...with words, love him in heart...and lamented the death” (Beowulf 55).
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