Beowulf-A True Anglo-Saxon Hero - Carpenter 1 Cara...

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Cara CarpenterMrs. ParkEnglish III Honors – 7thPeriod 13 December 2013Beowulf: A True Anglo-Saxon Hero Living in a world full of disease, bloody conflicts, and death, the Anglo-Saxons looked for heroic figures that would represent everything one would need to be a survivorand a leader. The early Anglo-Saxons needed a hero to embody the heroic ideal of loyalty,strength, and courage. The epic Beowulf, was written to give the Anglo-Saxons a hero named Beowulf, who would exemplify this ideal. The most important value to the Anglo-Saxons was loyalty, as it kept a tribe together through times of war and hardship. Beowulf shows this through his words and actions towards his people. Strength was also highly valued, for it was needed to survive the harsh lives of an Anglo-Saxon. Beowulf’s warrior attitude and incredible battles reflect his superior strength. Lastly, a warrior had to have great courage to defend their tribe against foreign invaders. Throughout the epic, Beowulf shows courage from his first battle, to his final and fatal battle. Beowulf, from the epic Beowulf, is the perfect hero to represent the Anglo-Saxon ideal, which included loyalty, strength, and courage.For the Anglo-Saxons, the most important attribute for a warrior to have was loyalty. Anglo-Saxons lived in tiny huts and dressed in animal hides to protect themselvesfrom the miserable cold and damp weather of England. They lived by farming the land, hunting for food, and fishing on dangerous seas. They were constantly fighting neighboring and invading tribes. Living in this very harsh environment, the Anglo-Carpenter 1
Saxons created a strong kinship among tribes. Moreover, it encouraged intense loyalty to clan leaders and its people (Beowulf). The Saxon kings each had a small army of warriorsthat would defend the tribe in battle. They had to follow the ‘warrior-code’, which taught the warrior to fight and die for his leader. This code showed the allegiance of a fighter to his people and his king. The warrior must not yield at the sight of war, but defend his homeland. If a warrior were to betray the ‘warrior-code’, then he was met with very harshconsequences (Primary History: Anglo-Saxons). This outcome reflected just how important loyalty was to the Anglo-Saxons. Warriors were a central part of Anglo-Saxon life. They protected and sometimes lead a tribe. Loyalty was essential to a tribe staying together through wars and at sea (Stitt). Beowulfportrays the perfect warrior to represent loyalty. At the beginning of the epic poem, Beowulf shows loyalty by coming to the aid of Hrothgar after the terror of Grendel. He shows fidelity to his father, who has served Hrothgar’s kingdom in the past. Beowulf says, “My people have said, the wisest, most knowing and best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’ Great King” (Beowulf Poet 43). Beowulf trusts in his people, and goes to fight Grendel. In a later section, Beowulf stays loyal to his word when he swears to only defeat Grendel with his hands. He says, “ My lord Higlac might

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