In Anglo-Saxon culture, gold was one of the most valuable possessions a person could own. Gold and treasure was a sign of wealth, honor, respect and power. To the Anglo-Saxons, people lived their lives to become more honorable in the eyes of their peers. People valued others who had more treasure as it was a sign of their accomplishments. The role of wealth, treasure and gold in this poem is important to the power and the honor of the individual. The gold represented the amount of respect and power the individual was presumed to possess. In the poem, King Hrothgar was the king of the Danes. Hrothgar was considered to be well respected and wise because he was wealthy and owned a kingdom. More treasure was also a sign of a great warrior and their accomplishments. For example, when Beowulf defeated Grendel he was given many riches, “Then Halfdane’s son presented Beowulf with a gold standard as a victory gift” (Beowulf lines 1019-1020) and as a sign of respect from King Hrothgar. When Beowulf defeated Grendel's mother he was …show more content…
Men would risk their lives for treasure and honor. “Each man, who had sailed with Beowulf and risk the voyage received a bounty” (lines beowulf (1050-1052)). In other words, the men risked their lives on the voyage to receive gold and honor. The Anglo Saxon culture valued gold and treasure more than their own lives. At the end of the poem, while Beowulf was dying he requested that Wiglaf retrieve the gold he had just “won”. Wiglaf states, “I gathered them up, gold and silver, filled my arms as full as I could and quickly carried them back to my king” (Beowulf lines 3090). At the end of Beowulf's life he requests to see the gold he had won from killing the dragon.This shows how much treasure is worth to the Anglo Saxon culture. To these people, treasure and power were to die for. The Anglo Saxons would risk dying to get more treasure and to be deemed honorable by their
The dragon had been hoarding gold for centuries, and the intruder’s miserly view of treasure has sharp contrast to the liberal meaning at the beginning of the poem. Beowulf does eventually win the gold hoard after killing the dragon, but it is a somewhat hollow victory. While he is glad to leave such a legacy for his people, Beowulf looks at it sadly, no doubt wondering whether his sacrifice was worth the reward. This time, the gold gifts do not bring him the same kind of honor. They are not given as a gift or as a reward; instead they are the spoils of a battle to the death, which is why the treasure was buried around him at his funeral pyre, so no one could gain the treasure that lead to the death of their
King Hrothgar’s response was excitement as he hear stories of Beowulf’s father Ecgtheow as he would reward and bring him treasures. As he sees him as one of the most powerful man, he welcomes his coming and the Geats as they talk about the Grendel and how he would attack the monster. However, they begin to celebrate his coming with a feast that showed that King Hrothgar shows respect for Beowulf and his willingness to defeat Grendel.
He was only trying to help out King Hrothgar and wanted to fight. Although defeating Grendel was not enough Grendel 's mother had to be defeated to for trying to kill people in the town. Beowulf took the challenge. When Beowulf goes to her he feels as if though he is going to die. She takes him to her lair Beowulf fears for his life until they get inside the lair.
Knowing Your Place In the poem Beowulf, the author shifts from Beowulf being an orphan to being a king, by incorporating underlying themes such as strength and skill, identity, and shift in power to show the importance of social structure and the adherence to comitatus. The most important literary element that the poet utilizes is strength and skill because the better you are in battle the more respected you are and the greater your rewards. One of the first examples of comitatus in Beowulf occurs when Beowulf responds to King Hrothgar’s call for help. King Hrothgar would like peace restored to his kingdom but this is impossible because Grendel is wreaking havoc on his kingdom, specifically Hrothgar’s mead hall.
Second, the readers of "Beowulf " poem often confuse about whether Beowulf fought monsters for wealth or for pride. In my point of view as a reader I belief Beowulf fought monsters and beast for his pride and faith. So I chose "Goldgyfan or Goldwlance: A Christian Apology for Beowulf and Treasure " by Joseph E. Marshall from Studies in Philology journal as my critics to support my statement. In Marshall, Joseph E. “Goldgyfan or Goldwlance: A Christian Apology for Beowulf and Treasure.” Studies in Philology, vol. 107, no. 1, 2010, pp.
In Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney the dragon’s gold represents a close bond. When the man stumbles upon the cave of treasures, when he steals a gold jewel-studded goblet. The dragon wakes up to find his goblet gone “the hoard-guardian scorched the ground as he scoured and hunted for the trespasser” (Heaney 155-157). To most people the treasure will gain them nothing but to the dragon he is the hoard guardian meaning he cares about his possessions enough to hunt for the trespasser. The dragon uses his “pent-up fury at the loss of the vessel made him long to hit back and lash out in flames” (Heaney 157).
Beowulf attempted to comfort Hrothgar and the warriors by exclaiming, “Let your sorrow end! It is better for us all to avenge our friends, not mourn them forever”. He then aims to convince Hrothgar that “for the glory of his name, fame after death is the noblest of goals”. Beowulf believes it is worth dying for a good
Glory is the prime motivation for Beowulf in his story. Beowulf wants to be remembered for the great deeds he has done in his lifetime, like Hrothgar. Hrothgar, the king has earned his glory in his youth. “To Hrothgar was given such glory of war, such honor of combat, that all his kin obeyed him gladly…” (Part 1) Hrothgar is now old and unable to protect his kingdom, and Beowulf decides that he will step in and help because of the glory it will give him.
He appreciates Beowulf’s bravery and loyalty so much that he thanks his mother and tells him he will love him like his own son. Another cultural value that can be seen in both Beowulf and the Anglo Saxons is the devotion to those in need. Specifically, the commitment to avenge a death of people of importance. The Anglo Saxons valued family and the importance of supporting and helping those close to them, which in some cases involved avenging loved ones deaths.
With knowledge from his previous fight, Beowulf realizes that he must wear armor and have a weapon in order to have a fair fight against the beast’s mother. Hrothgar’s wife, Wealhtheow, supplies the hero with chain mail armor. The armor signifies the Danes’ belief in Beowulf’s victory. “The mesh of the chain-mail/saved him on the outside,” or else the monster’s claws would have killed him instantly (1503-1504). Beowulf then obtains the sword Hrunting from a coward named Unferth.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the Heroic or Warrior Code is a way of life for many of the people during the time in which the story takes place. One aspect of this code is rewarding warriors for heroic acts. The status of gold and gift-giving in the poem is something that is earned and not just given; it signifies thankfulness the king, or gift-giver, has for the warriors loyalty to him and his people. The act of gift-giving is done by kings, who are sometimes described as “ring-giver[s]” (line 608) and owners of “treasure-hoard[s]” (line 1196).
Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period, treasure and weaponry were highly valued among the kingdom and its people. Only those worthy enough to the King or Queen would receive treasure. Treasure was typically given to high-ranking warriors and loyal civilians that had accomplished some great deed. Beowulf shows that these men were so attached to those treasures and weapons that they buried them along with their dead to show their eternal loyalty.
This edition of Beowulf was translated by Burton Raffel. In this poem Beowulf leads a group of his best men to go save Hrothgar’s home from a dreadful monster. He eventually comes across an obstacle much greater than any other he has faced. The values and lifestyle of the Anglo-Saxons were very battle oriented. They believed in dying in battle for honor rather than running away in dishonor.
Anglo-Saxon is a culture that has a lot of belief in fate, treasure is their success, and where loyalty to a leader is crucial. The excerpt identifies all these qualities of Anglo-Saxon because Beowulf says that “the woven war-garment, adorned with gold covered my breast... Fate will often spare an undoomed man, if his courage is good... But soon, quite soon, I shall show him the strength, the spirit and skill of the Geats" (470-471, 490-491, 518-520). The gold on his chest represents the treasure and success, he also mentions fate when he speaks, and his loyalty to King Hrothgar promising that he will defeat Grendel with his warriors.