Comitatous In Beowulf

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In Kevin Crossley - Holland’s translation of the epic poem Beowulf, the stories protagonist Beowulf, displays the values of an ancient Anglo Saxon society. Anglo Saxon literature was composed of the ideas of comitatous, which is importance of loyalty towards the king, positive and honorable attitude towards war and battle, and the everlasting journey for fame and to be renowned. The story’s epic hero, Beowulf, a valiant thane is pinned in three battles, each with its own unique and fierce foe. Within each battle, values of the Anglo Saxon society are shown. As each battle progresses on, the traits of comitatus, honor, and the need for fame are all displayed. The desire for fame is incorporated in most Anglo Saxon literature. The poems…show more content…
Comitatous is loyalty towards ones king or loyalty to the nobility. Jumping ahead to battle three, comitatous is displayed in a young thane known as Wiglaf. Wiglaf is a young soldier that dedicated himself to Beowulf and helps him throughout his endeavors. During the battle, Beowulf is on the verge of defeat against the dragon. Consequently, Beowulf’s band of soldiers all abandon him and cower in the woods. All except one soldier who was Wiglaf. “The claims of kinship can never be ignored by a right-minded man”(1083). Wiglaf jumps in the fury of battle to defend his king. He fights valiantly and nearly kills the dragon himself. But, before he puts the final blow into the dragon, Wiglaf hesitates, and lets Beowulf take the final blow in slaying the dragon. Wiglaf displayed were his loyalties lied, and how important Beowulf was to him. Likewise, Comitatous is also displayed by battle two. At the end of the battle two verse Grendel’s mother, Beowulf’s soldiers wait out side the river for their hero to return. The river in which the battle took place became stained with blood, and many of the people waiting for Beowulf’s return lost hope and retreated back to the town. “The Geats, sick at heart, sat down and stared at the lake. Hopeless, they yet hoped to set eyes on their dear lord” (1290). Beowulf’s men, were lost without him. They yearned for his return and well being. And to their surprise he arrived and was happy to see his fellow comrades. Beowulf’s men, proved their loyalty to him, and that’s what made them his most trusted

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