A chaotic world, with no sense of virtue or order, will ultimately fail. Every society needs a code of conduct to maintain itself. Many years ago, bands of warriors ran much of Germanic society. They followed a code of conduct that would ensure respect amongst their peers while also benefiting their society as a whole. Beowulf, a pagan epic from the Germanic period, relates closely with the values honored by warriors of that time. The poem Beowulf, both a piece of literature and an historical artifact, documents the values of early Germanic culture: the values of wisdom, courage, and pride directly relate to the material conditions of early Germanic society.
The value of wisdom, a highly respected attribute during the Germanic period, appears profusely within Beowulf's speeches. In one such speech, after Grendel's mother kills Aeschere, one of the king's most trusted advisors, Beowulf says:.
"Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always better.
to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.
For every one of us, living in this world.
means waiting for our end. Let whoever can.
win glory before death. When a warrior is gone,.
that will be his best and only bulwark."" (1384-1389).
He understands the grief Hrothgar exhibits. Despite this anguish, however, Beowulf sees grieving as an inappropriate way of responding to the death of a comrade. Beowulf's insightfulness reminds Hrothgar of the code every warrior must follow, even in times of sorrow. This code demands for an act of vengeance on Aeschere's behalf, which would exhibit the truest sign of loyalty and affection. Beowulf's own wisdom helps console the king and supply the moral foundation needed for their society to endure. .
Besides wisdom, a strong degree of courage also perpetuates through Beowulf's character. After the death of Aeschere, Beowulf prepares for his battle with Grendel's mother: .
Beowulf got ready,.
donned his war-gear, indifferent to death;.