Beowulf, an epic hero from sixth century Scandinavia, is truly the embodiment of the ideals of his time. In his adventures he shows off the qualities at that time revered as heroic. Truly Beowulf is the quintessence of the Anglo-Saxon man of that era. He displays many qualities that show some of the conflicts of the era. Proud and humble, Christian and pagan, Beowulf's character encompasses many seeming contradictions. One of the oldest stories still known to man, handed down orally from generation to generation, Beowulf still remains true to his time and to his culture.
In his journeys Beowulf's conduct is flamboyant and self-assured to the point of being pompous. In the time when this epic was first told though being that self-assured was not a bad thing. Where as today anyone boasting that their "days of youth had been filled with glory" and that they could single-handedly do what armies of other men couldn't would have been thought arrogant Beowulf merely garnered respect. That though is not the most significant way in which Beowulf embodied the ideals of the time. It was his dedication to his lord above him and his caring for those who in turn had pledged to him as a lord. His concerns before his battle with Grendel were not of death or pain to his person, but what should be sent to his lord and who should look after his men should he fail. It was fealty that was the most important virtue of the time.
In his battle with Grendel his dedication to his men is not the only quality shown. Honor was an important aspect of Beowulf's fight also. Since Grendel disdained to use weapons, then for the sake of honor neither did he. Beowulf refused to take any advantage in the fight versus Grendel not only for the honor involved, but because it would lessen his glory, which seems to be the main reason for his many battles. This need for fame was again not looked down upon in early Anglo-Saxon culture.