Throughout the Anglo-Saxon and Middle Age periods the main characters always had a similar established value; honor. This value is prominent in Beowulf, "The Seafarer", and The Canterbury Tales. Each of the main characters portray honor either to himself, his followers, his king, and / or his God. These poems are the different aspects of honor intertwined together to form the most prevailing value during this time frame. Beowulf is a story of a brave warrior who fights Grendel in the timeless battle of good versus evil.
This era was an age of fierce battles coupled with equally fierce honor and loyalty to rulers. .".. He and all his glorious band of Geats thanked God that their leader had come back unharmed". The author is referring to the universal devotion expressed by the public to their rulers. To be an honored heroic figure Beowulf had to have the honor, loyalty, and respect of his followers.
When Beowulf decided to journey to. ".. Hrothgar, Now when help was needed. None of the wise ones regretted his going, much as he was loved by the Geats". Beowulf was so honored and respected he was called upon to help fight Hrothgar's battle. None of Beowulf's followers questioned him because they were loyal to him and honored him.
Beowulf strived to be honored and to hold this value very high. The Seafarer is one Man's struggle to be true to his conscience and honor his God. The Seafarer believes that to bring his God and himself honor he must stay on the sea and fight through the suffering he encounters. "He who lives humbly has angels from Heaven to carry him courage and strength and belief... Praise the Holy Grace of Him who honored us...
". In the Seafarer's mind, in order to receive honor on earth, he must live on the sea. So, the Seafarer spends his entire life on the sea to obtain his goal of honor. Knights were guarded with utmost respect and honor, as Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales mentions, "There was a Knight, a most distinguished man, who from the day on which he first began to ride abroad had followed chivalry, truth, honor, generosity, and courtesy".
Knights were very distinguished and honored during the period of time covered by The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer goes on to say that Knights "often sat at table in the chair of honor, above all nations... ". Chaucer continues to tell about how respected and honored Knights were. A person during the Middle Ages who is "a true, perfect, gentle knight... ". is considered the epitome of what men should value.
Honor is the most prevailing value throughout Beowulf, "The Seafarer", and The Canterbury Tales. Beowulf, the Seafarer, and the Knight all lived their lives in order to obtain honor from their followers, themselves, their kings, and / or their Lords. The lives of these men were devoted to achieving their ultimate goal of being honorable.