The Comparison of Early English Literature.
The island of Britain has a very diverse history that dates back to its early inhabitants. The Celts (Britons) were the first inhabitants of the island, and were a tribal people with a pagan religion. As the Roman Empire expanded, the Romans came to the island and occupied it. The Romans left in the 5th century, leaving the Celts unprotected from invaders, and at the end of this occupation the land was invaded by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. As these Germanic tribes settled in, yet another group of invaders started to arrive. These invaders were the Vikings, attacked and looted costal towns on the east coast of Britain, and eventually made colonies. To ensure the Vikings did not take over the whole island, Alfred the Great united the Anglo-Saxon tribes, and forced the Vikings to inhabit a land known as Danelaw. One of the final invading groups were the Normans, who invaded in 1066 and took power after the Battle of Hastings. With all of these groups invading, changes occurred. These changes were in the areas of value, language, literature, and culture. Two early pieces of English literature, Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales ,express the changes in the social perspective, language, and literature during these early years of British history. .
Throughout each of these stories the culture's values are expressed within the text. Although these stories are uniquely different, they contain similar values. Beowulf, expresses the values of loyalty, bravery, leadership, friendship, victory, confidence, strength, and the lack of the fear of death. Many of these values are shown through the main character of the story, Beowulf. Beowulf is a strong, brave leader who goes to fight evil monsters, with no fear of dying in combat and the confidence to be victorious. Beowulf shows his loyalty by fighting until he wins for his cause or people, and expresses friendship by feasting after a victory.