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Word Count: 1,703
The earliest known manuscript of Beowulf is thought to have been written in thetenth century however the poem had most likely been told as an oral tradition forcenturies before that In fact the poems events date back to the sixth century Howeverbecause there is only one manuscript of Beowulf still in tact very little is known about thepoem or its author The poem does however give us great insight into the culture of thepeople who composed and told this epic taleBecause the poem was performed orally mainly between the eighth and tenth centuries but dealt with subject matter of centuries earlier it is difficult to decipher andseparate the cultural context involved in the poem from one century to the next Thepoem was probably unrecognizable from its original state after two hundred years of oraltradition that would have changed its content drastically The storyline of the poem thebattles and significant events probably maintained most of their identity while thecultural context took on another form more suited to the current culture of the people Bythe time it was written in 1000 the poem was probably most representative of the tenthcentury culture yet it still managed to tell a story similar to the original versionBeowulf then gives us a significant insight into the cultural views of the tenthcentury Anglo-Saxons including their political social and moral views Theindividualistic society was just beginning to replace the tribal system in which noindividual had been seen as more important to the success of the tribe than any other The individuality that Beowulf displayed helped establish new rules in society Beyondthis Beowulf gives us an even greater insight into middle ages society Woventhroughout almost every aspect of their culture and the poem are very strict moral codesand values Loyalty honesty family ties courage and even Christianity play a major rolein this epic poem In each of the stories told throughout the poem elements of theseAll three of Beowulfs battles demonstrate qualities deemed virtuous
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