Community, Identity, and Loyalty in Beowulf When people think of Beowulf, the first thing that comes to mind is usually never family.
When you take a deeper look into the book, you can see that the tribes play a big role Characters in the book are often introduced as the child or spouse of a particular man as well as a member of a specific tribe. People that do not belong to a tribe, such as Grendel and his mother, are called dangerous and unhappy. These men in the book are seen as nothing without devotion to their tribe. Family and tribal allegiances in fact, do determine one's identity, and that is shown through the men in Beowulf.
The theme of family and community allegiances is seen through the giving of gifts, the great number of feuds within the tribe, as well as the communal relationship of trust and how it affects one's loyal identity. The importance of family and tribal identity can be seen through the use of calling someone by their name, followed by the name of their father. This is shown with "Unfeth, a son of Ecglaf" and "Hyglac the Geat, grandson of Swerting," What tribe you come from determines your status in the community in Beowulf. Characters like Grendel represent the importance of family, "Till the monster stirred, that demon, that fiend Grendel who haunted the moors, the wild marshes and made his home in hell. Not hell but hell on earth. He was spawned in that slime of Cain, murderous creatures banished by God, punished forever for the crime of Abel's death" (Heaney 9). In Beowulf, men or being without tribes, such as Grendel, are Sharma ! 2 described as "lonely and joyless". With no family or community ties, people are incomplete.
Grendel clearly exemplifies the importance of a family tie because without it people are unfinished. Even today, there is a very strong importance between family background and your future. A college legacy plays a big part of college acceptance today. If one of your parents when to a certain college, you are very likely to get into the same college. Also, how a person is brought up, and their culture tires are very important to their identity. How a family associate is very similar to the different clans in Beowulf, "Family analogy is developed where what is shared is not some identical feature common to all members but an analogical "network of similarities, overlapping and criss-cross"(Morgan 585). Family background and identity play a very big role in the clans in Beowulf and in modern society today.
The strength of the community or family allegiance correlates with the loyalty and identity of the individual. Loyalty to lards plays a very big role in Beowulf, especially when he becomes king. When Beowulf returns to Geatland and presents King Hygelac with the gold he earned from Hrothgar by slaying Grendel and his mother, it is a clear sign of Beowulf's loyalty to his king. A character's identity is not only shaped by his/her family, community, and tribe but also by...