Reputation In Beowulf Analysis

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The Role of Reputation
Reputation is something many people today strive to uphold. It is the motive of many people’s actions, choices and behaviors. Although reputation is a popular concept today, it is not a new concept for human beings. As we see in the epic poem Beowulf, reputation is very important to many of the characters in the poem. It is especially important to our epic hero, Beowulf himself.
Reputation in Anglo Saxon times, was partly determined by who your family was. This explains why the author refers to characters lineage while introducing them in the story. For example, “His name was Wiglaf, he was Wextan’s son and a good soldier; his family had been Swedish, once. Watching Beowulf, he could see how his king was suffering, burning. Remembering everything his lord and cousin had given him, armor and gold and the great estates Wextan’s family enjoyed”(lines 92-98). The author did not just want to mention Wiglaf’s name, he had to tell of Wiglaf’s family heritage and success to prove his reputation and status. Furthermore, reputation in Anglo Saxon times was also determined by your own individual accomplishments. “I swam in the blackness of the night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one”, Beowulf says this as he is boasting about himself to King Hrothgar and
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In other words, the more fame you have, the better reputation. Beowulf gained fame by conquering Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon, which in turn gained him an outstanding reputation. Each member of Beowulf’s society wanted a good reputation in order for their fame to live on even after they pass. Beowulf achieved this goal as we can see in this quote from lines 281-284 “telling their sorrow, telling stories of their dead king and his greatness, his glory, praising him for heroic deeds, for a life as noble as his name.” Beowulf’s fellow soldiers mourned his passing, and believed their was no greater than

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