The concept of boasting in the world of Beowulf does not really carry the negative connotations that it generally does today. Rather, it is seen to perform an important function in a warrior society such as that of Beowulf, where manly valour was so highly prized, and indeed quite necessary in a world full of constant feuds and battles. By talking up his achievements in battle and other feats, a warrior could make a strong impression, he could let his strengths be known, and cement his reputation. The strong storytelling element involved also fitted in naturally into the oral culture of this society as a whole; there were no written records of a warrior’s deeds, nor of anything else. Boasting was a formal activity in this society, therefore, and certainly was not meant to be empty brag. On the contrary, a warrior would be fully expected to live up to his own claims, to bear out the reputation for strength and valour that he would establish through his boasting.
In effect, boasting was a kind of career resume for warriors in this society. This is very much relevant to the career of Beowulf, the central hero of the poem. When first he comes to Hrothgar’s aid against Grendel, he offers to fight the monster all by himself and cites his own past feats of valour and strength as illustration of his fitness for such a task. He goes on to prove his bravery through his actions in defeating Grendel and ultimately when he loses his life in fighting the dragon; his words are fully borne out by his actions.
Boasting in Beowulf Everyone who reads Beowulf knows that he loves to boast all the time which is his way of talking himself up, there are two ways that Beowulf boasts and one of them has nothing to do with him saying he is better than anyone. Boasting in Beowulf is a common part of the story that is easy to pick up on. It’s the smaller boasts that Beowulf throws around that you don’t notice. When you see Beowulf talking after a battle or a race he loves to talk about how he won or how strong he is. But it’s when Beowulf talks about how he will protect people that the reader does not think about this as boasting. When Beowulf tells Hrothgar to not cry and get revenge, and then Beowulf says he will go off and gets revenge for Hrothgar this shows Beowulf is caring. Beowulf is willing to go into battle for his friend and get revenge for him. Beowulf goes and does this because he believes that he is strong enough and tough enough to take on any enemy even Grendel.