The Importance Of Civilization In Beowulf

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The term civilization is often associated with the level of developed technologies and the standards of living. So, when compared to the modern age, the Anglo-Saxons would be considered highly uncivilized. The Anglo-Saxons may not have the same technological advances as people today, but evidence in period literature suggests that they had civilized ideals. Beowulf, an epic poem about a warrior prince who travels Scandinavia fighting monsters, contains crucial testimony to support that the bonds of kinship, a certain mark of a civilized society, were highly valued during the time; the importance placed on the bonds between those in the Geat community shows that the Anglo-Saxons were, in fact, civilized. The Anglo-Saxons kept detailed records of their familial heritage through oral stories, such as Beowulf. When the narrator introduces a character into the story, he uses family lineage as an identifier. Beowulf introduces himself as “‘King Hygelac’s blood-kin,’” and King Hrothgar notes that Beowulf’s “‘kin-folk and I are hearth friends’” (390). Such elaborate descriptions of relationships are present with all of the major human characters introduced. The constant references to lineage and bonds of friendship show that the Anglo-Saxons exceedingly valued the ties to their ancestors and companions. By placing emphasis on their roots and their friendships, the Anglo-Saxons were creating the basis of civilized society. Beowulf is not alone as he ventures to Heorot: he

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