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Beowulf Society The earliest known manuscript of Beowulf is thought to have been written in the tenth century however the poem had most likely been told as an oral tradition for centuries before that In fact the poems events date back to the sixth century However because there is only one manuscript of Beowulf still in tact very little is known about the poem or its author The poem does however give us great insight into the culture of the people who composed and told this epic tale Because 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 and separate the cultural context involved in the poem from one century to the next The poem was probably unrecognizable from its original state after two hundred years of oral tradition that would have changed its content drastically The storyline of the poem the battles and significant events probably maintained most of their identity while the cultural context took on another form more suited to the current culture of the people By the time it was written in 1000 the poem was probably most representative of the tenth century culture yet it still managed to tell a story similar to the original version Beowulf then gives us a significant insight into the cultural views of the tenth century Anglo-Saxons including their political social and moral views The individualistic society was just beginning to replace the tribal system in which no individual 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 Beyond this Beowulf gives us an even greater insight into middle ages society Woven throughout almost every aspect of their culture and the poem are very strict moral codes and values Loyalty honesty family ties courage and even Christianity play a major
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