Christian and Pagan Virtues Displayed in Beowulf Essay

Good Essays

Many times in literature authors blend two dissimilar traditions and virtues in order to make up a persons true identity. In the epic poem Beowulf, the Christian allegory is woven with a pagan fable in order to truly represent the characters. The Christian and pagan virtues are successfully synchronized and amalgamate the story as a whole which is displayed by the two main characters, Beowulf and Grendel, through their personal traits.
Many Christian elements and values create the disposition of Beowulf. The author of Beowulf creates a character who seen as a Christ- like figure in that he possesses the Christian value of self-sacrifice and assists in the fight against evil. Beowulf is willing to die and defend his people, in this case …show more content…

The entire scene of the battle with Grendel’s mother runs parallel with Christ’s life. The pond that surrounds Grendel’s mothers murky house represents evil. Beowulf knows he is faced battling evil, is prepared for death, and forgives all his enemies. The submission into the murky pond distils Beowulf as he overcomes the evil of Grendel’s mother. He submerges from the water, just like Christ ascended into heaven. As Beowulf immerses from the battle with Grendel’s mother, he credits Christ again saying, “I’d have been dead at once,/And the fight finished, the she-devil victorious,/ If our Father in Heaven had not helped me” (310-312). As a final point, just as Christ had one last battle, so did Beowulf. The battle with the fire-breathing dragon was Beowulf’s last battle in which he came out with a victory, in that he defeated evil. Beowulf fought long and hard in his last battle with evil. Even though both Beowulf and Christ ultimately pass away in their final battles, they both were able to conquer evil. At the end of the battle he declared to Hrothgar, “If God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal.” In pointing out his successes and accomplishments to God’s help, Beowulf demonstrates how he accredits Christian beliefs.
In addition to Christian virtues Beowulf exemplifies many pagan virtues. The pagan elements of the character of Beowulf

Get Access