Beowulf: An Intersection of Christian and Pagan Ideals

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Beowulf: An intersection of Christian and pagan ideals The epic poem Beowulf is the story of a great, ideal hero of Anglo-Saxon, pre-Christian culture transposed into Christian times. It stands on a crossroads of literature: on one hand, it is not written in conventional, standard English and unlike Chaucer it requires a modern translation for a contemporary reader to comprehend it. On the other hand, its essential themes reoccur time and time again in English literature. Its pagan roots are manifested in the manner in which it celebrates bloody conflict as a proving-ground of heroism. However, the Christianity that was beginning to affect Anglo-Saxon worldviews is also manifest in the idealized, Christ-like portrayal of Beowulf ("Context," Spark Notes, 2012). At the beginning of the tale, the Danish King Hrothgar's kingdom is being besieged by an evil monster named Grendel. Grendel is portrayed as the embodiment of everything that is negative in the world, based on the traditional Anglo-Saxon view. Grendel is violent, ugly, and assaults the hospitality of the king. He attacks the king's most noble warriors in the mead hall of Heorot, a place of joy and rest. The King and his men can do nothing to fight against the might of Grendel, and his entire kingdom is paralyzed by fear. Only the heroism of the Geatish Beowulf can save the kingdom. Beowulf comes from a kingdom far away, and Hrothgar must send for him and beg the noble Beowulf to help. On one hand, Beowulf's

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