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Word Count: 976
The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature and is well deserved of the distinction The epic tells the story of a hero a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel a descendent of Cain and of his exploits fighting Grendels mother and a Dragon Throughout the epic the Anglo-Saxon story teller uses many elements to build a certain depth to the characters Just a few of the important character elements in Beowulf are Wealth Honor Biblical Paganistic and Man vs Wild themesMany of the characters in Beowulf are like in most epics defined by their status But in addition to status the Anglo-Saxon culture also adds an element of honor To the Anglo-Saxons a characters importance as well as their wealth and status where measured not only in monetary terms but it was also measured in terms of honor fame and accomplishments Hrothgar king of the Danes is one example of the Anglo-Saxon measurement of importance in Beowulf In Canto 1 the story teller describes his wealth and importance not as mounds of gold or jewels but instead as his ability to lead the Danes to such glory and as his tendency to In battle leave the common pasture untouched and taking no lives Through this display of compassion for the commoner who doesnt fight in battles Hrothgar proves the full extent of his honor and therefore the extent of his wealth and status Beowulf the hero-prince also proves his true wealth and status through his deeds as defender of the Danes As he fights and defeats Grendel Beowulf Earns Fame and wealth from his companions and from the Danes but more importantly he earns honor raising him to the level of an archetypal hero Grendel on the other hand is the total opposite of Beowulf He has no wealth no honor and he in infamous as an evil killer This lack
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