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BeowulfThe Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of OldEnglish literature and is well deserved of the distinction The epic tells thestory of a hero a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf who rids the Danesof the monster Grendel a descendent of Cain and of his exploits fightingGrendels mother and a Dragon Throughout the epic the Anglo-Saxonstory teller uses many elements to build a certain depth to the charactersJust 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 bytheir status But in addition to status the Anglo-Saxon culture also adds anelement of honor To the Anglo-Saxons a characters importance as well astheir wealth and status where measured not only in monetary terms but itwas also measured in terms of honor fame and accomplishments Hrothgar king of the Danes is one example of the Anglo-Saxonmeasurement of importance in Beowulf In Canto 1 the story teller describeshis wealth and importance not as mounds of gold or jewels but instead ashis ability to lead the Danes to such glory and as his tendency to Inbattle leave the common pasture untouched and taking no lives Through this display of compassion for the commoner who doesnt fight inbattles Hrothgar proves the full extent of his honor and therefore the extentof his wealth and status Beowulf the hero-prince also proves his truewealth and status through his deeds as defender of the Danes As he fightsand defeats Grendel Beowulf Earns Fame and wealth from his companionsand from the Danes but more importantly he earns honor raising him to thelevel of an archetypal hero Grendel on the other hand is the total oppositeof Beowulf He has no wealth no honor and he in infamous as an evilkiller This lack of wealth and honor defines Grendel as a symbol of evil andcorruption In addition to using Honor and wealth to define a characterscharacter
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