How is Beowulf Brave: Unveiling Beowulf’s Remarkable Bravery

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Paganism and Devotion to Lord Hygelac

There are a few different aspects that make up the Germanic culture. A few of these are Paganism, a warrior-lord, and Christianization. These aspects are not the only things that make up the Germanic culture. However, they are the ones most used in Beowulf. The term Anglo-Saxon is the general term used for Germanic tribes, for instance, the Geats or the Danes, who came from what is now Denmark and Sweden to conquer England. Beowulf was originally written in Old English, which is a language that was derived after the Anglo-Saxons defeated England.

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Paganism, when alluding to Beowulf, refers to the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon gods. The Anglo-Saxon gods represented a specific type of prodigy that was observed by the tribes. When Beowulf first arrives in Daneland, he gives a speech in which he begins by saying, “We belong by birth to the Geat people/ and owe allegiance to Lord Hygelac.” From that, it is interpreted that Beowulf is passionate about his people and that they owe everything to “Lord Hygelac.” This is Paganism because it seems almost as if Beowulf worships Hygelac and feels like if it weren’t for him, then the Geats would have nothing. Furthermore, to owe allegiance to somebody means that you owe them loyalty and obedience. I see this as Beowulf telling his people that they owe it all to Hygelac and nobody else for where they have gotten as a tribe.

Warrior Lords and Their Role in Society

In the Anglo-Saxon culture, warrior lords were seen as superior figures. The heads of the Anglo-Saxons, for instance, Hrothgar, king of the Danes, and Beowulf, king of the Geats, held an elevated position in society because of their unparalleled bravery and strength. The warrior lords were there to protect their people, as well as unite their tribe into a family such as a god-like figure. The gods would inspire the warrior kings with the skills needed to win fights, and the king would thus be rewarded with treasures if he won.

Beowulf’s Unyielding Bravery

Elements of this idea are shown in Beowulf’s arrival speech when he says, “In his day, my father was a famous man,/ a noble warrior-lord name Ecgtheow./ He outlasted many a long winter/ and went on his way.” This lets us know that Beowulf’s father was a warrior-lord, and stating that he has lasted many a long winter infers that he was a strong and brave man of his time. This is also represented again in Beowulf’s closing speech before he passes. He states, “…No king of any neighboring clan would dare/ face me with troops, none has the power/ to intimidate me. I took what came,/ care for and stood by things in my keeping,/ never fomented quarrels,  never/ swore to a lie.” I think this shows that Beowulf was a warrior lord, and he is describing what life is like for him. He’s explaining how he was a brave man, in fact, so brave that no other man could ever intimidate him. This part of the speech really shows the aspects of the Germanic culture because we get to see Beowulf describing how he handled things as a warrior lord, and we know that he would do whatever it took to protect his people.


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How is Beowulf Brave: Unveiling Beowulf's Remarkable Bravery. (2023, Aug 30). Retrieved from