Strength, Courage, And Honor In Beowulf

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The tale of Beowulf set in 5th or 6th century Scandinavia represents the Anglo-Saxon culture in which it originated and what they valued. The story follows the life and adventures of Beowulf from wise prince to great king. The poem illustrates three main themes important to those people told through the adventures of the heroic Beowulf: strength, courage and honor. To understand the Anglo-Saxon culture and what they would call a warrior, you must understand the code of comitatus. The code in essence, is the relationship between a nobleman, king or great warrior and those that serve them. In Beowulf, it begins at youth when a person becomes a servant or retainer to a king or great warrior. In return for their loyalty and military service, the person receives economic and legal protection. The warrior would share the treasures earned in battle with their loyalists equally and was known as a “giver of rings”. The first great warrior named in…show more content…
Wiglaf says, “A warrior will sooner Die than live a life of shame.” (2890-2891). Under the code of comitatus, running away from the battle would be dishonorable. Many of the soldiers that went with Beowulf to slay the dragon did flee in fear “No help or backing was to be had then From his high-born comrades; that hand-picked troop Broke ranks and ran for their lives To the safety of the wood.” (2596-2599). Beowulf did succumb to the injuries sustained in the battle with the dragon and was given a grand funeral by his loyal people. During the funeral, Wiglaf made clear his disappointment in the other soldiers saying, “I would rather my body were robbed in the same Burning blaze as my gold-giver’s body Than go back home bearing arms.” (2651-2653). Wiglaf proves he is the better and more honorable man than the others that ran in fear instead of backing up their ring-giver in

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