Beowulf

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  • The morals and values of ancient Anglo-Saxon society differ greatly from that of todays society.
  • "Hail, Hrothgar! Higlac is my cousin and my king; the days of my youth have been filled with glory."
  • The Anglo-Saxon society depicted in Beowulf would define a hero as someone with great skill in battle. Fighting was a large part of their culture, making professional warriors into a respected upper social class.
  • "... But fate let me find its heart with my sword, hack myself free; I fought that beast's last battle, left it floating lifeless in the sea."
  • "That mighty protector of men meant to hold the monster till its life leaped out, knowiing the fiend was no use to anyone in Denmark."
  • Beowulf exemplifies these qualities by again and again claiming victories, not just over mortal enemies, but over powerful monsters.
  • "No victory was celebrated better, by more or by better men and their king.
  • The Danes regard for warriors is made clear during the celebration they have for Beowulf and his men after they defeat Grendel.
  • After Beowulf is killed in combat with the dragon, his men bury him with his wealth and build him a monument, showing their respect for such a great warrior.
  • "... telling stories of their dead king and his greatness, his glory, praising him for heroic deeds, for a life as noble as his name."
  • Modern heroes are often people who serve, but in a different capacity than Beowulf. They save lives or create peace. They improve the lives of others through service, and often without thanks.
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