Beowulf embodies Anglo-Saxon ideals of conduct — which included integrity and dignity — through his heroic monster-slayings, proving both his bravery and, as king in the final episode, his loyalty to his people. Some scholars have argued, however, that in sacrificing himself, Beowulf did a disservice to his people by leaving them without a king.Know More
Nevertheless, such heroic self-sacrifice is concordant with the Anglo-Saxon emphasis on warrior values. In any case, his eventual fate is widely interpreted as a matter of predestination rather than personal choice.
In his transition from warrior to king, Beowulf embodies the Anglo-Saxon ideals of courtesy and wisdom. Unlike Hrothulf, Beowulf does not seek the throne for himself, supporting instead the candidate he sees as most fit to rule.Learn more about Classics
The epic poem "Beowulf" follows the titular hero on his quest as he saves King Hrothgar's mead hall from the beast Grendel, defeats Grendel's mother, reigns as king and eventually dies gloriously in battle with a dragon. The story follows the archetypal hero's quest structure.Full Answer >
One example of personification in "Beowulf" comes when Beowulf describes sea monsters as "vengeful creatures, seated to banquet at bottom of sea." By comparing the hungry sea creatures to humans ready for a meal, he is using personification, the attribution of human qualities to non-human things.Full Answer >
The monsters in "Beowulf" are all broadly symbolic of the marginal outsider in society, something to be isolated and destroyed to maintain social order. However, each monster has its own specific significance, whether drawing on biblical or mythological symbolism.Full Answer >
Themes that are present in "Beowulf" include loyalty, reputation, generosity, hospitality, envy, revenge, the search for identity, the difference between good warriors and good kings, fame, pride, Christianity and Paganism. Beowulf personifies loyalty throughout the story, while the characters of King Hrothgar and Queen Wealhtheow exemplify generosity and hospitality.Full Answer >