Beowulf also appears selfish when he asks Hrothgar for permission to fight Grendel without the help of the Danes. He wants the glory for himself and the Geats. He goes on to say he plans to fight without a weapon since
Grendel does not use a weapon. Beowulf explains that he doesn't want to bring shame on his king by engaging in an unfair fight. We view the request to fight without the Danes as selfish, but men tried to gain as much glory as possible during their lifetimes. Before Christianity the Anglo-Saxons didn't believe in an after-life, so achieving glory helped ensure they would live on after death with fame.