Beowulf Research Paper

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Mahatma Gandhi, preeminent leader of Indian nationalism, once asserted, “A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” (?). Therefore, a culture reflects the way of life of its society. The knowledge, values, attitudes, and beliefs that form the basis of a civilization in a certain place and time influence the actions, thoughts, and very existence of that society. In fifth century Great Britain, a people known as the Anglo-Saxons pursued their own distinctive set of cultural capitol. As depicted in the epic poem Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon culture primarily revolved around battle, Christianity, and social status. Perhaps most important to the Anglo-Saxon culture was the significance of battle. Throughout the entire duration…show more content…
The presence of God was woven through the many actions of Beowulf’s characters. When the Geats arrived in Denmark, they secured their ship and immediately thanked God for their safe travels. Whenever Beowulf won a battle, he thanked God for giving him the strength to do so. This noble warrior fought with an utmost faith and trust in God. While fearlessly waiting to fight the terrible beast Grendel, Beowulf declares, “Let God and His wisdom extend His hand where He wills, reward whom He chooses!” Whatever the outcome, things always happened because God willed it to. When the wounded Grendel fled to his den after the fight, Beowulf said, “I tried to kill him, but God’s will was against me.” In addition, there was a clear distinction between what was good and what was evil. Destroying buildings and killing people, Grendel symbolized evil, while Beowulf mirrored the goodness of God. Referring to Grendel, he acclaims, “Now he discovered what it meant to feud with Almighty God.” Hrothgar announced after Beowulf’s victory that “the world brings good and evil; all who remain here meet both.” Also, an allusion is used when the biblical Cain and Abel are referenced regarding Grendel and his mother. Representing the common view of the Anglo-Saxon community, Hrothgar asserts, “The world is…show more content…
One’s social status determined the basis of one’s identity, and along with it, assumed what values and traits one must possess. For example, kings and warriors were the successful men of the time. Kings were thought to have hospitality and generosity, while warriors were thought to have strength, courage, and loyalty. King Hrothgar opened up his Herot to house all warriors, and when Beowulf was victorious, he showered Beowulf in lavish piles of gifts. Beowulf, exhibiting the qualities of the ultimate warrior, defeated every battle that crossed him, was fearless in the face of danger, and stayed true to his own king in Geatland. Both of these righteous positions were well respected, unless they turned on their heroic code, resulting in deprecation by society. For instance, Unferth was known for killing his own family members, which irreversibly tarnished his reputation. On the low end of the social classes remained the slaves, who were barely even counted. In Beowulf, the slave who stole the cup from the dragon did not even have a name. Lastly, the women were of minor importance to Anglo-Saxon culture. While not necessarily belittled, women were just not as powerful in this masculine-dominated society. Characters in Beowulf such as Welthow, Hrothgar’s wife, and Freaw, Hrothgar’s daughter, played minor roles in the story. Welthow is of some importance during one of the ceremonies in

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