What Would Beowulf Do? How Beowulf Is a Christ-Like Figure Essay

1642 WordsMay 29, 20127 Pages
The contemplative question of “What would Jesus do?” has become a popular pragmatism in society today. There is an unwritten rule or sense of morality by which a properly functioning civilization may live. However, what method did early Anglo-Saxons use to remind themselves of what would be the proper thing to do in a situation? Even though they were a violent and warmongering culture as a whole, geared toward waging and winning war, they did have a moral code to honor. Anglo-Saxons prized the values, which they would have been learned by rote since childhood, including: courage and selflessness, honor, discipline and duty, hospitality, self-reliance, and perseverance. These principles of character are some of the main mores clearly…show more content…
The characteristic of an unmitigated wickedness-- a ubiquitous evil presence which common man cannot easily see, but is eventually consumed by-- is clear in both accounts; in Beowulf’s case, he grapples with Grendel and defeats him by tearing his arm off, in Christ’s struggle against evil, He spiritually wrestles Satan during His forty days and forty nights in the desert where he fasted, prayed, and eventually conquered Lucifer by resisting temptation. “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over.” Aristotle’s words embody the true difficulty Christ endured in first conquering Himself in order to be victorious over the Devil. Another indication of Beowulf and Christ’s similar nature is that both maintained loyal disciples, Beowulf, his fourteen thanes, and Christ, his twelve apostles. Both heroes are also shown to have been doubted in their respective tales. When Beowulf presents himself before King Hrothgar, Unferth, a noble warrior openly expresses his doubts in Beowulf’s character and overall credibility as one who will stop Grendel. Similarly, Christ was berated by High Priests of the synagogues for his astonishing wisdom; He was not taken seriously by the elders, simply because He was a child at the time- the Priests challenged all Christ had to say,
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