Christian Allegory in Beowulf

1027 Words Feb 23rd, 2018 4 Pages
Beowulf offers a glimpse of a society struggling between two different paths, one path being the assimilation into the new Christian traditions and the other is the fast fading past of glorified warriors and family ties. In the poem, the reader can see the attempts of the poet to convey the values and stories of Judeo-Christianity in a society of Anglo-Saxon paganism. The poet illustrates the infiltration of the Christian teachings and how they might have appeared within the lives of the people through the literary devices of symbolism, allegory, and allusion.
The narrator of “Beowulf” introduces us to the monster that is Grendel in the very first lines of the poem. The speaker describes “a fiend from hell” and speaks of “a cursed creature” whom God has condemned as he is “the kin of Cain”. Grendel’s description immediately aligns him with sin and the darkness of human nature found in the old biblical tale. As the poem goes on Grendel attacks Hrothgar’s hall because of the singing of praise to God. Grendel cannot bear to hear the praise as he is said to “live in the land of monsters since the Creator cast them out” (pg. 39).
Grendel , much like his ancestor Cain, is “the outcast from God and society, the eternal wanderer” (Cain & Ahasuerus) This state of misery and isolation makes Grendel the perfect symbol for the fallen mankind that has been separated from…
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