Anglo-Saxon Values Demonstrated by Beowulf

Essay by emdizzleHigh School, 10th grade November 2014

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Ms. Jaworski

AS English II

17 October 2014

Anglo-Saxon Values Demonstrated by Beowulf

In Seamus Heaney's translation of the epic Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, exemplifies the values of an Anglo-Saxon warrior and king. Beowulf is a Geatish warrior who uses his super-human strength to defend the Danes, a neighboring kingdom, from a terrible monster named Grendel. Beowulf then goes on to kill Grendel's mother and become the king of the Geats. During his reign, Beowulf runs a successful kingdom and sacrifices his life to save his kingdom from a dragon. Beowulf demonstrates the Anglo-Saxon values of physical strength, a thirst for revenge, and courage, through the manner in which he fights various battles and his motives for fighting them.

Beowulf's extraordinary physical strength is displayed during his battle with Grendel, a powerful monster who has fought and killed many Danish warriors without difficulty. When Grendel tries to sneak up on Beowulf, Grendel discovers "himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth" (Beowulf lines 749-752).

Physical strength is greatly valued by the Anglo-Saxon culture, and Beowulf is stronger than anything Grendel has ever faced before. Because of his impressive strength, both the Danes and Geats are willing to follow Beowulf into battle and can count on him to lead and protect them. It is evident from Grendel's struggle that Beowulf surpasses the physical strength of the normal human, making him a model Anglo-Saxon warrior. Along with his immense physical strength, Beowulf is willing to seek revenge to achieve justice.

Beowulf's battle with Grendel's mother is driven by revenge. Grendel's mother snatches and kills a Dane named Aeschere, which deeply affects King Hygelac, whom Beowulf is very close to. Beowulf takes it upon himself to avenge the death of...