Beowulf Essay

751 WordsMar 21, 20114 Pages
Beowulf depicts the heroic code of honor that is defined, and exposes pre–Anglo-Saxon culture. The story is set in Scandinavia, however is part of a Germanic oral tradition. Beowulf is a record of heroic deeds, the concept of identity both of which the two principal ideas are of heritage and individual reputation. The opening passages introduce the reader to a world in which every male figure is known as his father’s son. Characters in the poem are unable to talk about their identity or even introduce themselves without referring to family. This concern with family history is very important as the poem puts a great focus on kinship bonds and relationships throughout the book. In the poem the characters try with a great inspiration to act as their ancestors had to take and carry out the pride they exposed. “A foundling to start with, he would flourish later on as his powers waxed on his worth was proved. In the end each clan on the outlying coasts beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and begin to pay tribute. That was a good king.” (Beowulf 7-11 Page 3) Characters are constantly defined in by their fathers and ancestors. This passage also shows heroic action as a cultural value and shows how important it is. While heritage is the model for shaping of their behavior and identity, a good reputation was the key in modeling the best and most well known identity. Shield Sheafson, the legendary originator of the Danish royalty, was orphaned, and the only way for him to develop an identity for himself was to carry out deeds that would be renowned and remembered. While Beowulf’s pagan warrior culture doesn’t seem to have a concept of the afterlife, it sees fame as a way of ensuring that an individual’s will continue on after death, in a story that preoccupation in a world where death seems always to be knocking at the door. Beowulf is devoted to articulating and

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