How Does Beowulf Reflect The Cultural Values Of The Danes And The Geats?

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The poem Beowulf was written in approximately 1000 A.D. by Christian monks. It was originally a Pagan fable, but later became a Christian allegory. The tale of Beowulf takes place on the European mainland. It consisted of two Germanic tribes, the Danes of what is now Denmark and the Geats, which is now Sweden. This poem follows the life of Beowulf from that of a young and loyal Dane who becomes a great respected king and dies proudly, as a warrior. The warrior culture at this time reflects the values of the society of the 6th century. The Danes and Geats showed their loyalty to their leader by fighting for him, even to the death. The leader would then give them something in return like treasure or property for their deeds or achievements, which helped to improve their reputations. In regard to these important cultural values of that time, four of these values recur throughout this legendary poem: loyalty, violence, celebration and revenge. The first value important to the Anglo-Saxon’s culture, loyalty, directs Beowulf and his people throughout their lives. Beowulf offered to battle Grendel, so one night Grendel came to attack Hrothgar’s people, and Beowulf retaliated. The others had awoken and “jumped from their beds….determined to protect their prince if they could.” (317-319) There loyalty to their leader is also present in Beowulf’s last battle. When he battles the dragon and is near death, Wiglaf is by his side for whenever he asks for help. “By Almighty God, I’d rather burn myself than see flames swirling around my lord” (725-727) Wiglaf responded. This showed that they knew their responsibility and duty was to protect Beowulf and help him, knowing Beowulf would do the same for them. The Danes and Geats would put their own life at risk to protect each other or their leader. The Danes and Geats were very

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