In the epic poem Beowulf, what are some Anglo-Saxon virtues and how does Beowulf protrays them and qualify as an epic hero?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Below is a list of important Anglo-Saxon values, and a brief description of how Beowulf fits each one:

  1. Loyalty: Beowulf fought for his king and king Hrothgar, avenged his kinsmen (the many who died whom he didn't even know), and kept his word.
  2. Generosity: gifts symbolized bonds and Beowulf brought back many riches for Hrothgar and Hygelac (his own king)
  3. Brotherly love: Beowolf is not a love story between a man and a woman, but rather, a man and his people, or his country.  Beowulf's relationship with his own men shows botherly love.
  4. Heroism: Beowulf possesses the basic ideals of a hero - physical strength, skill and resourcefulness in battle, courage, etc.
  5. Public reputation: in Anglo-Saxon times, things were done for fame, and this was not shameful.  Men were not heroes in order to satisfy a sense of private conscience, they wanted to become known for their deeds.  Beowulf's reputation precedes him all the way to Hrothgar's Herot.  Also, when he seems to be bragging in front of Unferth, he is really just setting his story straight.