Beowulf Today

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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The values and virtues of todays' society have many similarities and manydifferences to those of Beowulf's time. In modern America, we value bravery,honesty, and a strong sense of ethics much the way the culture of Beowulf's timedid. We value intelligence over brute strength and humbleness over egotism, asopposed to Beowulf's culture which believed that muscle and hard-headednesswere the traits of heroes. The Angleo-Saxons also had a strong sense of fate, theidea that life is predetermined, but as a modern society we value the belief of self-destiny.Our values and beliefs in modern America have many similarities to those ofBeowulf's time and culture. Both cultures value honesty, bravery, and a strongsense of ethics. A good example of how Beowulf's culture valued bravery is inBeowulf's actions. He takes on monsters without fear and fights for the good of thepeople. Of course, in movies and t.v.

our heroes put themselves on the line to dowhat they know is right. Both of our cultures champion a strong ethical code,which we see in Beowulf when he leaves his home to help the Danes get rid of theirmonster Grendel. We also see Beowulf's strong moral character as he stands in hisfirst battle with the dragon even though he knows it means his death.There are many differences in what we value today contrasted to whatBeowulf's culture valued. They believed that brute strength was the best solutionwhere we believe that intelligence will persevere over time. It seems that asBeowulf boasts of his battles at sea, this pleases the King of the Danes. Theirculture also believed that the fate of everyone was predetermined. They thoughtthat no matter what they did or an indidual did, they could not change what wouldhappen. We see this in Beowulf's final battle. Beowulf realized that fate is nolonger with him as the dragon is able to hurt him. Today we believe that eachperson causes his own fate, that anyone can do anything.

Today's society has many similarities to Beowulf's culture, as well as manydifferences. Both cultures champion honesty, bravery, and a strong sense of ethics.We have different ideas about what the best characteristics of a hero are. TheAnglo-Saxons believed that brute strength and a boastful attitude made a hero. Webelieve that intelligense and a good mix of humbleness and self-pride make a hero.Beowulf's people also believed life was in the hands of fate, that their detinies werepredetermined. Modern society believes that there is no set destiny and life is whatwe make of it.



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