Essay on Religion in Beowulf

814 Words4 Pages
Jeff Paletta
Mr. Manwell
English 3
Period 3

Soldier of God Warriors are considered among the bravest of men. In the Anglo-Saxon community, the warriors were of the most respected class, and made up the foundation for their way of living. Anglo-Saxon warriors would not stop fighting until either they were victorious or they were dead. Written during this Anglo-Saxon period, the epic Beowulf contains many pagan ideals, in addition to several references to Christian philosophy. Beowulf is a tale of dual ordeals; an external fight against treacherous enemies, and an internal struggle with human tendencies of pride, greed, cowardice, and betrayal. The story intertwines them with both pagan and Christian beliefs. The pride
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In this sense, Beowulf represents an Anglo-Saxon warrior; the bravest of pagan soldiers who fight until the death. The first half of this dual ordeal is the internal conflict of human nature to be overcome by pride and greed. The characteristic of pride and its contradiction to Christian values gives a first look at the dichotomies of pride vs. humility and sacrifice vs. greed. In Herot, King Hrothgar reminds Beowulf that pride, untempered by humility, will result in the tragic fall. He also shares with Beowulf a second element of Christian philosophy; “wealth, accumulated through the grace of God, must be shared unselfishly.” The characteristic of greed is contradictory in Beowulf. At first, Beowulf is made out to be a selfless warrior; he fights Grendel and Grendel's mother to ensure safety for his people, even if it means he will die. However, once the greed of Beowulf mixes with his pride, he loses that trait of selflessness. Beowulf lets his pride consume him, and begins to brag about what he has accomplished. Beowulf says “Grendel is no braver nor stronger than I am! I could kill him with my sword; I shall not...” (Beowulf 376) Beowulf starts to call himself the best soldier in the world, and that he is the only one that could kill Grendel. At this point, Beowulf is no longer fighting for the protection of his people, but rather for his own personal glory. The
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