What are the values and customs of a warrior society according to Beowulf

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Although Beowulf is a traditional heroic epic, it blends the values of two different cultures, one pagan and one Christian. Rather than synthesize these to produce a unified value system, as happened later in the Arthurian romances, the poem simply reflects both cultures, with some lines overtly Christian and some clearly pagan.

The poem displays quite distinct gender roles, with all the heroic figures being male. The only powerful female figure in the poem is Grendel's mother, who is a monster. On the level of custom, one could describe this society as homosocial.

The first and preeminent virtue a warrior must display is physical skill and prowess in one-to-one combat. Beowulf demonstrates this by overcoming several monsters in single combat. Another major virtue is courage and steadfastness, even while experiencing great physical pain, as we see in the fights with Grendel and his mother. Honor and reputation, both in the present and for posterity, are also important components of the heroic character. Beowulf also demonstrates the Christian virtue of faith.

The customs of heroic society include complex networks of kinship and hospitality, as seen in Beowulf fulfilling the obligation to aid Hrothgar. The social customs are also quite hierarchical, with younger males having to prove themselves gradually by means of modesty of demeanor coupled with martial prowess.

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