Boasting is an important element of most forms of oral epic. It often occurs in agonistic situations in which characters use boasting as a form of competition. In some cases this form of competitive boasting serves as an alternative to fighting and sometimes it functions as a prelude to fighting.
The main reason that it is important has to do with a combination of religious and cultural beliefs. Although there are some Christian elements in Beowulf, the main substrate is pagan, and rather than focusing on an afterlife of the soul, the poem assumes that a warrior lives on mainly as his deeds are recounted by bards. Posterity, in a sense, functions as an afterlife. This brings glory not only to the warrior himself but also to his family. Thus boasting is a way of perpetuating one's deeds.
Also, as recording technology did not exist, and Beowulf could not share videos or photos on social media, boasting-- like the social media posts of the twenty-first century-- serves as a way to share an...
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