During the Anglo-Saxon period, literature had a few purposes: one being to promoting values to pre-literate people. Although literature was shared orally, the values and morals in each were passed down through the generations. In the epic "Beowulf," the protagonist embodies the important values of the culture in which it was written. These values are universal - valor, power, strength, loyalty, and etceteras. Beowulf becomes a hero to the Geats due to his noble and leader-like qualities - his selflessness, bravery, strength, and fearlessness.
Beowulf's selflessness and bravery are shown frequently when he battles Grendel. Beowulf shows no signs of retreat and accepts death as it may come. He realizes that "fate will unwind as it must" (li. 284) when he prepares to battle. Beowulf's selflessness is still shown as he fights the fire-breathing dragon, despite his old age. His determination to "seek fame still" and "fight again" (li. 626) is obvious as he awaits his final battle. Another quality exhibited by Beowulf is his bravery. Through vivid descriptions of Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon, the conditions Beowulf faces become clear. Even with the dragon, whose "burning hot poison will pour from his tongue," Beowulf's bravery shines through (li. 634). Beowulf, during his fights and battles, personifies the type of hero that is admired by the people of this time period.
Although Beowulf is extraordinarily selfless and brave, he is also strong and fearless. These qualities, like the later ones, are desirable for a character of his importance. Beowulf displays a sense of strength throughout his life. One particular example is the comparison of his strength to that of his men. When his men are "staggering under the weight of Grendel's skull/Too heavy for fewer than four of them to handle-" (li. 607-608), it is evident that Beowulf's strength far exceeds their own. During his countless battles against various evils, Beowulf uses his strength to his advantage.