Characteristics of Wiglaf and how they Represent Anglo-Saxon Ideals

Wiglaf is a very good representative of Anglo-Saxon ideals. In "Beowulf", he is shown to be respectful, courageous and brave, boastful, a soldier, loyal, trusting, and he drinks.

Wiglaf respects and honors the gift of the armor and sword given to him by his father. It is with these inherited treasures that Beowulf leads him into battle with.

"The Dragon discovered his courage…When the rush of battle brought them together." (28-29) The Dragon is also Beowulf, who witnessed Wiglaf's courage on the battlefield. Courage is a very predominant characteristic of Anglo-Saxon men. This trait is needed to stand up to whatever marauding peoples happen by the house that day, to assault as well as defend. Battles large and small need men to fight them; the courageous followed their leaders to their victory, defeat, or death.

"I remember how we sat in the mead-hall, drinking/And boasting of how brave we'd been…" (32-33) Drinking was a common way for the typical Anglo-Saxon to relax with friends and reminisce about how great and brave (and mighty and fearless and spectacular) he had been in various battles. They enjoy their boasting, a verbal trophy for their commendable actions.

Loyalty to Beowulf is the driving force behind Wilglaf following him into battle. People do not blindly follow the instructions of someone they do not know and trust with their lives. Once that trust is established, men die for one another, their loyalty stronger than any foe they encounter.

These characteristics are the backbone of the Anglo-Saxon ideals.