Beowulf Essay, Research Paper
Ideals are standards of perfection or excellence. For the Anglo-Saxons of the Dark Ages these ideals were loyalty, valor, unselfishness, and a sense of justice. Through Beowulf?s journey we can see how he exhibits these ideals.
The first of these ideals is loyalty, which Beowulf shows when he obeys his people?s request for him to go to the Danes. ?My people have said?that my duty was to go to the Danes?Now Grendel and I are called together, and I?ve come.? This shows how loyal he is to his people that no matter what they ask he will go to the ends of the earth to fulfill their wishes. He will even risk his life, as he does with Grendel, to please them.
The second ideal the Anglo-Saxons held so dearly was valor. Beowulf exhibits this ideal clearly in this quote: ?My hands alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster.? This quote shows how he shows boldness and determination in battle and the regards the outcome as menial while the real honor is gained in the battle.
The third ideal held sacred by the Anglo-Saxons was unselfishness. When Beowulf hears of the plight of the Danes he drops everything and runs to their rescue. Even though he has no obligation to help the Danes, he still volunteers his skills and his life as he begins his journey to fight Grendel. The true test of Beowulf came when he puts his life in God?s hands and fights Grendel: ?God must decide who will be given to death?s cold grip.? This shows, very simply, that he is willing to do whatever it takes for others.
The last of the Anglo-Saxon ideals is a sense of justice. When Beowulf first hears of Grendel he hears about the horrible crimes that he is committing to mankind, he at once rushes to the Dane?s rescue. He believes that Grendel should be punished for the crimes he has committed.
All of these ideals; loyalty, valor, unselfishness, and a sense of justice, were all very important to the Anglo-Saxons. This is why the epic of Beowulf became so popular at the time, because he exhibited all of the sacred ideals.