Anglo-Saxon Ideal Code of Conduct in Beowulf

Essay by katana80B-, December 1996

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Anglo-Saxon Ideal Code of Conduct

he epic poem of "Beowulf" presents the characteristics of two heroes, Beowulf

and Hrothgar. During this Anglo-Saxon time period, Hrothgar rules as the king of his

Danish lands. However, this king faces many problems due to the disturbances of a

monster known as Grendel. As an Anglo-Saxon warrior of the time, Beowulf hears of

this creature and journeys through the hero's path to kill Grendel. Through this journey,

Hrothgar and Beowulf reconstruct the code of conduct of an ideal Anglo-Saxon king and


The Danish lands of the time are ruled by Hrothgar, a respected and generous

king. These qualities of character were admired by the people of his time and place. All

people of Hrothgar's kingdom respected this king, and they all accepted his "very word

far and wide as a command." The people also give him great titles such as the "Lord of

the Mighty Danes," "guardian of the Scyldings," and "protector of warriors."

Much of

these people's respect come in response to Hrothgar's generosity to everyone. This

generosity can be seen towards Beowulf, when the king gives his thanks for the heroic

deeds of the warrior. Hrothgar rewards Beowulf with priceless material as he says to the

warrior, "You shall lack no earthly riches I can offer you." The people of the land also

trust their king, who holds a strong belief in God. In the scene where Hrothgar celebrates

Grendel's death, he holds the monsters hand as he says, "Let us give thanks at once to

God Almighty for this sight." The followers of the king both respect and trust their ruler,

and through his generosity and strong trust in good, Hrothgar displays the ideal code of

conduct for an Anglo-Saxon king.

Mano 2...