Anglo-Saxon Values In Beowulf And The Seafarer

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Throughout history, literature has always been written to reflect the values of a society during that time period. It can be dated all the way back to the Anglo-Saxon period with poems such as Beowulf and The Seafarer, which reflect how the Anglo-Saxons valued religion and being an honorable warrior above all else. We can fast forward a bit to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales which reflect the estates within a society and the role religion had in their lives. No matter what time period we look at, we can find the values held by societies just by looking at the literature during those periods of time.
First, we can examine Beowulf, which holds the many values of Anglo-Saxons within it. Beowulf tells the story of a warrior who continuously proves himself in battle and always stays true to his values of being a honorable warrior. When Beowulf first comes to Herot to serve King Hrothgar who needs help protecting his people from the murderous savage named Grendel, he immediately shows he is an honorable warrior: “I have heard, too, that the monster’s scorn of men is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. Nor will I” (Raffel, pg. 48, lines 261-264.) This shows that Beowulf would respect even his enemies and wanted to always be fair in his fights. Beowulf’s actions reflect that Anglo-Saxon’s valued being honorable
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Beowulf and The Seafarer both reflect the values held by the Anglo-Saxons. The warrior way of life and religion both were held in high regard in their society. In contrast with that though, the medieval English society that Chaucer wrote about were more of a selfish society, even those who belonged to the church. The actions of these societies reflect their values, regardless of their titles and outside appearance. Looking at literature from different periods of times, will always reflect the values that the societies during that time held dear to their
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