The Importance of Highly Valued Traits to Anglo-Saxons (Courage, Generosity, Loyalty, and Courtesy) in Beowulf

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Ancient Anglo-Saxon society was based around four highly valued traits; Courage, Generosity, Loyalty, and Courtesy. It is of these four characteristics in which many epic tales were created, and thus passed down for many years through oral account. All of these attributes compile to form what we consider today as a heroic figure. The poem Beowulf denotes all of these traits through many of the heroic characters throughout the course of the poem.

The attribute of courage is clearly evident throughout the entire poem. Everything Beowulf does is a direct link to courage. Beowulf is a perfect example of an Anglo-Saxon point of view on how much more important courage and honor are as compared to failure. In this quote, it is shown how determined he is to kill Grendel and gain valor. "Of your people or die in battle, pressed/ In Grendel's fierce grip.

Let me live in greatness/ And courage, or here in this hall welcome/ My death!" (632-638). Another prime example of Beowulf's courage is demonstrated shortly before he murders Grendel when he says, "Grendel is no braver, no stronger/Than I am! I could kill him with my sword" (677- 678). Grendel has killed countless soldiers in Herot for years, but Beowulf claims that not only can he kill him, but also he can do it without any weapons or armor. By doing this, Beowulf takes what seems like a very large risk in a battle and sacrifices it for glory. During the Anglo-Saxon Era, being a hero was very important, but being a hero who accomplishes both the notion of courageous fighting against an evil monster, and doing it with style makes him even more so. Shortly after murdering Grendel, Beowulf yet again demonstrates his courage when he...