18 September 2012
Throughout the epic poem, Beowulf, the distribution of wealth is an essential part of the social structure. Wealth is Beowulf is not important to him; his fighting skills make him who he is, not his wealth or the wealth he receives. He also relates to Germanic tribes as well because they value the same aspects as him.
First, Beowulf displays an immense amount of courage and sincerity towards protecting his people. Throughout the epic poem, he is faced with the challenge of Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. When the battle of Grendel and Beowulf takes place, it results in the death of Grendel and the victory of Beowulf. This victory brings wealth to him as his king, Hrothgar, rewards him with horses, great weapons, a party and a very meaningful speech (part 15). Hrothgar defines his social status with his distribution of wealth to Beowulf when he gives him the gifts. By distributing his wealth, Hrothgar is actually bringing his people closer together by securing the protection of Beowulf, therefore achieving ‘the bond of comitatus.’
Next, wealth in Beowulf shows no importance in him. He willingly risks his life to protect his people and does not expect any wealth or reward in return. Wealth does play in effecting the actions made by others around him. For example, when Hrothgar asks Beowulf to go after Grendel’s mother and kill her, he expects him to do it because he have him wealth and feels it is owed to him. Hrothgar uses his wealth to make sure Beowulf does not leave him. Beowulf is an archetype when it comes to being a fighter; he displays the greatest form of being noble. He shows the ideal actions of a warrior and is the man on which all are based; he sets the bar. With his people being his main priority, his most noble actions are made with them in mind and not the wealth or reward he may receive.
Lastly, Beowulf’s noble actions relate very well to other major values of Germanic tribes. He respects...