In the book Beowulf, the characters are trying to find meaning.  What meaning are they trying to find?

Expert Answers
shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beowulf is an ancient epic poem set in Sweden and Denmark. It was translated into Old English by monks, probably around 700 BC, give or take a couple of centuries. As an epic, it focuses on an almost superhuman hero who goes on a journey and performs great deeds while exemplifying the values of his culture. 

Loyalty was an important part of the Anglo-Saxon culture. They were a clannish, war-like people, who needed loyal leaders and followers to survive in a harsh, often violent world. 

There is another important kind of meaning that infused the lives of these warriors: spiritual meaning. 

What could be more meaningful than man's desire to live in harmony with God?

One of the most interesting parts of the Beowulf story is its treatment of religion. Christianity and paganism are both present in the story, but it is clearly Christianity that is valued more highly. We see Beowulf repeatedly mention God and fate as the powers that will determine his failure or success. That this willingness to accept fate seems almost antithetical to his fearsome nature shows how unquestioningly devout Beowulf is. This acceptance implies that his foremost desire is to live in accordance with his maker's wishes.