Taking a Look at Beowulf

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Beowulf, the story of a man of superhuman strength who battles against a variety of demonic monsters to save King Hrothgars kingdom from fear and later defends his own kingdom against a dragon which ultimately leads to his death, is thought to be written sometime around the 8th century. The timing is significant because it is around the same time that the English society was teetering between pagan and Christian beliefs. This shift in societal beliefs is evident throughout the poem with references to God, Cain, and fate being decidedly Christian, and other references to heroic legends of the Germanic times reflecting much more pagan influences. Now there is still debate on whether the Christian influences were added later to a once pagan centric poem, but the end result of both points of view being combined in this work is not.
The description of Beowulf’s strength is obviously done from a pagan perspective, he’s seen as an unstoppable force, power which is unmatched by anyone else in the world. During the battle with Grendel his strength is made clear when Beowulf grabs Grendel for the first time, “The captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth” (Lines 749-752). Beowulf’s audacity and belief in himself as a warrior were also pagan, he chose to confront Grendel himself, unarmed, only using his strength as his weapon, no swords or shields to protect him. An 8th century superman if you

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