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Donaldson's Beowulf Essay

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Donaldson's Beowulf

"Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good"
-Beowulf (Donaldson, 12)

The passage that I analyzed spans the action when Beowulf returns to the halls of Heorot after a harsh battle with Grendel’s mother. He returns to king Hrothgar in the great hall of Heorot to say that he has successfully completed his boast and killed Grendel’s mother. Beowulf states that it has been a very difficult underwater battle and that he has barely escaped with his life, “The fight would have been ended straightway if God had not guarded me” (Donaldson, 29). Beowulf mentions this due to the fact that the sword given to him by Unferth, called Hrunting, was powerless against Grendel’s Mother. Hrunting is
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During the festivities celebrating Beowulf’s victory the King predicts that Beowulf will become the protector of the Geats until old age takes him and that he will be one of their greatest kings.

Christian and Pagan Elements

(p 28-31)

GRAPH The many references to God in the pages (28-31) of Beowulf reflect Christian beliefs as opposed to pagan ones. In pagan worship, nature takes the place of God along with the belief that inanimate objects contain spirits. The Geats would refer to Grendel and his mother as “God’s enemy” and “descendants of Cain.” “Cain” is a biblical reference to the story of Cain and Abel. In this story, Cain slays his brother Abel and consequently, is banished by God for all of eternity. Because of his role as the first murderer, Cain is thought to be the father of all monsters.

Another example of Christianity which is evident in Beowulf is the fact that the “eye for an eye” belief is practiced. During the second raid of Heorot by Grendel’s mother, a very close friend of King Hrothgar and great warrior named Aeschere is murdered. The monster, not abiding by the laws of the time, is subject to the “eye for an eye” belief and then has to be murdered
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