Heroic Code In Beowulf Essays

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Similarly, while the warrior culture dictates that it is always better to retaliate than to mourn, Christian doctrine advocates a peaceful, forgiving attitude toward one’s enemies.

Throughout the poem, the poet strains to accommodate these two sets of values.

Characters take pride in ancestors who have acted valiantly, and they attempt to live up to the same standards as those ancestors.

While heritage may provide models for behavior and help to establish identity—as with the line of Danish kings discussed early on—a good reputation is the key to solidifying and augmenting one’s identity.

It also holds that he must provide them with protection and the sanctuary of a lavish mead-hall.

Hrothgar’s speeches, in particular, emphasize the value of creating stability in a precarious and chaotic world.The code is also often in tension with the values of medieval Christianity.While the code maintains that honor is gained during life through deeds, Christianity asserts that glory lies in the afterlife.For example, the poet relates that the Danish Hildeburh marries the Frisian king.When, in the war between the Danes and the Frisians, both her Danish brother and her Frisian son are killed, Hildeburh is left doubly grieved.While the values of the warrior become clear through Beowulf’s example throughout the poem, only in the poem’s more didactic moments are the responsibilities of a king to his people discussed.The heroic code requires that a king reward the loyal service of his warriors with gifts and praise.For example, Shield Sheafson, the legendary originator of the Danish royal line, was orphaned; because he was in a sense fatherless, valiant deeds were the only means by which he could construct an identity for himself.While Beowulf’s pagan warrior culture seems not to have a concept of the afterlife, it sees fame as a way of ensuring that an individual’s memory will continue on after death—an understandable preoccupation in a world where death seems always to be knocking at the door.The Anglo-Saxon epic story was created in the 8th century.It is one of the brightest examples of the Old English epics.

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