Essay about Fate in Beowulf

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Fate in Beowulf

A Twist of Fate for the Great Hero Beowulf Fate seems to be an ongoing theme in the works of Boethius and Beowulf. Whether it is a belief of Christian providence or pagan fatalism, the writers of these works are strongly moved by the concept of fate and how it affects the twists and turns of a person’s life. Fate is most often seen as the course of events in a person’s life that leads them to inevitable death at some time or another.
Throughout the poem Beowulf, the characters are haunted by fate and acknowledge its strong presence in everything that they do. Fate seems to lurk in the shadows of these characters very being and it is this force in which they acknowledge their mortality as human beings. Boethius wrote
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This distinction is one that many readers of the poem Beowulf are unsure of. Beowulf is an epic poem written in Old English and translated by Seamus Heaney.

The theme of fate in Beowulf is ongoing and it manifests itself in the minds of the characters, especially Beowulf. The poem begins with an introduction from the narrator that hints at the events of misfortune that are coming in the future for the great hero Beowulf. The narrator says, “how could they know fate, the grim shape of things to come” (Beowulf, 1233-1234). The opening of the poem is of a funeral for the beloved leader Shield Sheafson. This foreshadows the death of Beowulf and in a sense presents the reader with the mentality of a connection between fate and death. Death is simply the end of a person’s life that is bound to happen, very much like the effect of fate on life. There is an ongoing conflict in the poem between the Anglo-Saxon idea of fate (wyrd) and the Christian God. This may have caused widespread tension among the readers and interpreters of the poem that lingers to this day.

Many translators of the poem have signaled the ”allusions to the power of fate” and its connection to Christianity (Klaeber, xlviii). The fact is that whether or not Beowulf saw a connection to the concept of fate and a divine power is something that we may never know.

The theme of fatalism in the poem is so strong that it is evident that fate was a strong force in the lives of the people of this

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