Essay about Christian And Pagan Ideals In Beowulf

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Before the invention of the printing press or written history, oral history, especially in early Germanic culture, became the foremost means of transcribing values, and past events. Written down in approximately 1,000 A.D. by an unknown author, Beowulf, originally a pagan fable, became a Christian allegory upon its transcription by Christian monks. However, as scholars have debated over the religious context in Beowulf, the attempts by the monks to turn the epic poem into a Christian parable ended merged, including both original and Christian aspects. Throughout Beowulf, the epic combines pagan ideals of fate or wyrd and the will of God, the similar concepts of the afterlife, and the contrasting ideas of the individual. In Beowulf, a…show more content…
Whenever Beowulf may speak, he may insinuate that God gives him strength; in actuality, Beowulf confides in his own abilities, stressing the pagan idea of wyrd. Other themes arise in Beowulf concerning Christian principles when King Hrothgar speaks because the majority of his speeches allude to Christian imagery: God may always work wonder upon wonder, the Guardian of Heaven…Now through the Lord’s might a warrior has accomplished the deed that all of us with our skill could not perform (17). After the battle with Grendel, King Hrothgar elaborates on the mightiness of the Lord, and the salvation that He gives to the Danes in the form of Beowulf. Upon the defeat of Grendel and his mother, Hrothgar presents Beowulf with several splendid gifts, but reminds him “keep yourself against the wickedness, beloved Beowulf, best of men, and choose better-eternal gains. Have no care for pride…” (31). Foreshadowing the necessary qualities that Beowulf uses in his reign, Hrothgar reminds Beowulf to take precautions on the spoils of warfare, and avoid the deadly sin of pride. After the death of Hygleac, Beowulf rises to the throne due to his respectful and altruistic nature, not because of some divine right. Despite the religious allegories of Hrothgar’s speeches and Beowulf’s gratitude to the Lord, most of the poem retains the underlying pagan
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