_Beowulf_ is an epic poem that, above all, gives us a vision of a time long ago; a time when the most important traits to have were courage and integrity. The only thing that could give such fame to somebody was heroic deeds and family lineage. Beowulf, as the example of pagan heroes, exhibited his desire to accumulate fame and fortune; the only way to do so was to avenge the death of others. This theme of retribution that is present throughout the whole poem seems to enrich the identities of its characters.
The expression “Jesus take the wheel” is quite common in today’s world, but just because it is a modern saying does not mean that it did not have any relevance in earlier time. Throughout the story of Beowulf, a comparison between Christianity and paganism had always been a topic discussed both within the text and spoken aloud in the classroom. Likewise, in this instance, man-made issues serves as a mirror of paganism and trust in God becomes Christianity. Many factors throughout section three revert to paganism rather than Christianity because there was no trust in God. Details such as pride, arranged marriage, and death are the major aspects of man-made issues in this section.
Pagan ideas and values were a large influence in the creation of Beowulf due to the period it was created in. As the narrative was passed down by mouth Christianity views were slowly developed into the story. The poem was written after Anglo-Saxons were Christianized, but it is evident that pagan views were still in their mindsets. With these ideals still present, paganism and Christianity were woven into the story, and we see a mix of heroic ideals and self-sacrificing virtues that create a story filled with religious influence. Fame, fate, and revenge are concepts tied with paganism that are shown throughout Beowulf alongside Christian values of loyalty, humility, sacrifice, and the negative consequences of greed and pride. No matter how
Beowulf is one of the most well-known poems in the world. It is considered the “mother poem” of England and has been for centuries. Christianity and Paganism do not go hand in hand as they are both well distinguished, but opposites throughout Beowulf. In the poem, the Christian monk reveals how the characters react to different situations using both religions. The core values of Paganisms believe in retaliation and vengeance, whereas Christianity’s core values signify forgiveness. Both of these attributes contradict each other through the course of the poem because the warriors look to God for guidance and protection before battle. However, when things do not go as planned they then blame it on fate. The “unknown author” in Beowulf distinguishes both religions in the poem by providing symbolism and ideologies for both Christianity and Paganism and how they contradict one another.
In the story of Beowulf, there is a noticeable struggle between Christianity and Paganism, and the characters personal battle between the two. Throughout the story the characters display actions that lead towards Paganism and Christianity. Contrary to Pagan belief Beowulf is seen as the epitome of good and beneficent to all of mankind. In Beowulf, the people showed their faith and love in God, however due to horrific events, paranoia caused them to look for a quick fix and turns them to Paganism.
Written at a time when Pagan and Judeo Christian beliefs were both in the Scandinavian region, Beowulf provides a unique blend between the two, creating a vibrant and fascinating world full of monsters, magic sword, and mighty heroes who save the innocent. God plays an immense role in Beowulf as defender of men, giver of victories, and provider of Beowulf. What is unique about the God in Beowulf is He is not truly Christian or Pagan, but rather a blend created from the beliefs of the Celtic people. This God upholds righteousness and condemns immorality. He decides the outcome of battles through Fate and guides leaders decisions on vital matters. “But the Lord was weaving a victory on His war-loom for the Weather-Geats”(696-697). This clear
Christianity arrived in Northern Europe over one thousand years ago. This is evidenced by some of the earliest pieces of literature that we have. The epic poem, “Beowulf”, shows many references to the influence of Christianity on English culture. There are many parallels between characters in “Beowulf” and characters from the Bible. Many Christian themes and virtues are also portrayed in “Beowulf”. Throughout “Beowulf”, the theme of Christianity manifests itself through Christ-like images of Beowulf as well as his strength in God allowing him to ward off monsters of paganism.
The oldest of the great lengthy poems written in English and perhaps the lone survivor of a genre of Anglo-Saxon epics, Beowulf, was written by an unknown Christian author at a date that is only estimated. Even so, it is a remarkable narrative story in which the poet reinvigorates the heroic language, style, and values of Germanic oral poetry. He intertwines a number of themes including good and evil, youth and old age, paganism and Christianity and the heroic ideal code, into his principal narrative and numerous digressions and episodes; all of which were extremely important to his audience at the time. Vengeance, part of the heroic code, was regarded differently by the two distinct religions.
Beowulf is an epic poem that, above all, gives the reader an idea of a time long past; a time when the most important values were courage and integrity. The only factors that could bestow shower fame upon a person were heroic deeds and family lineage. Beowulf, as the paradigm of pagan heroes, exhibited his desire to amass fame and fortune; the only way to do so was to avenge the death of others. This theme of retribution that is ever present throughout the poem seems to color the identities of its characters.
“Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster, God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip. Grendel’s plan, I think, will be what it has been before, to invade this hall and gorge his belly with our bodies.” (Lines 268-273) This quote was said by Beowulf a little while before he fought Grendal. This quote shows that Beowulf is ready to risk his life to save his people from a monster that has killed many people. He does this throughout this epic; fighting battles with different monsters that put his people’s lives in danger. Also during some of the fights he has faith in God and he believes that God will be there to help him when he needs it. Beowulf is a blending of Christian traditions and beliefs such as
Beowulf is written by an unknown author but is suspected to have been written by a Christian monk around 700-1000 A.D. This poem is known as the mother poem of England and one of the most influential works. All throughout the poem, we are introduced to the religions Christianity and paganism. Paganism is a “dark mystical religion from dark ages and is polytheistic religion and worship more than one god in the wilderness and they make idols out of wood or stone that they pray to.” Christianity is the “Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.” Christianity and paganism contradict each other many times during the poem and they both work together to show how Beowulf reacts with both fate and God at his side. The unknown author does a remarkable job at combining the two to show how other characters also react to both. Although never precisely told which religion Beowulf is, the unknown author shows the mix of Beowulf's religion is paganism, Christianity, and is even able to combine and show the cross of the two and how it affects him.
Every culture has its own set of values, beliefs, and customs. These values, beliefs and customs create each unique culture, and these cultural constructions are directly and indirectly acquired throughout the lifetime of the culture. A major part of culture is literature; the literature of the time reflects upon daily life and society during the time that the story was composed. Beowulf, an epic poem, is one of the most important and only works of Anglo-Saxon literature. Much like a fable, the epic poem of Beowulf had lessons that taught the people within this society how to behave. This essay will outline how the importance of Christianity and the Germanic Heroic Code in Beowulf are revealed throughout the epic poem as important aspects of the Anglo-Saxon culture as a whole.
The Anglo-Saxon poem “Beowulf” takes the reader back into a time long past; one of family, fate, and fealty. 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.
There is considerable debate as to whether the poem Beowulf is an epic narrative poem or an heroic elegy. Which is it. This essay intends to present both sides of the story.