In Beowulf, how does Beowulf describe intellectual life in Europe during his times?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the epic tale, Beowulf, Beowulf does not come straight out and describe intellectual life in Europe. Instead of offering a direct description of intellectual life, Beowulf's character mirrors the characteristics raised up by the people and cultures of Europe.

Beowulf, given his renowned, is considered a hero figure based upon his elevated language, bravery, willingness to serve God, and his strength. Through his use of elevated language, Beowulf is able to command the attention of those around him. This attention draws on his eloquent nature of speech.

What this means is that, while not described directly, Beowulf's own character speaks to the importance of intelligence. For example, when Beowulf realizes that his weapon, Hrunting, failed, He was smart enough to abandon the sword and take possession of the sword forged by giants.

Another example of Beowulf's intelligence, and the mirroring of the importance in European society, is where he decides to fight Grendel without weapons or armor. While some may find this to be an unintelligent move, Beowulf's desire to uphold his courage and valor supports his desire to show the characteristics important in Europe.

Essentially, it is through Beowulf's actions and dialogue which "describe" his outlook regarding the importance of intelligence in Europe.