Preview
Preview

Epic of Beowulf - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf Essay

:: 6 Works Cited
Length: 1967 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf  

 
   In Beowulf the Christian element, which coexists alongside the pagan or heathen, sometimes in a seemingly contradictory fashion, is many faceted.

 

Certainly the Christian element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down. The Christian element had to be included by the original poet or by minstrels who recited it in later times. The extent to which the Christian element is present varies in different parts of the poem. In the last portion (2200–3183) the number of lines affected by it amounts to less than four per cent., while in the section dealing with Beowulf’s return (1904–2199) it is negligible. In the earlier portions, on the other hand, the percentage rises to about ten percent (Ward v1,ch3,s3,n16).  The Christian element is about equally distributed between the speeches and the narrative.

 

While the poet’s reflections and characters’ statements are mostly Christian, the customs and ceremonies, on the other hand, are almost entirely heathen/pagan. This fact seems to point to a heathen work which has undergone revision by Christian minstrels. In the case of cremation mentioned in reference to Hildeburh’s family in The Finnsburh Episode and in relation to Beowulf at the end of the poem, which is the prevalent form of funeral rite found in the poem, this practice had probably passed out of use by the time the poem was starting to be Christianized, so such passages could not excite the repugnance among the Christian listeners in the audience.

 

The Christianity of Beowulf is of an indefinite and undoctrinal type. The minstrels ...


... middle of paper ...


...dictory fashion; it is a many-faceted subject to study.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Alexander, Michael, translator. The Earliest English Poems. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

 

Bloom, Harold. “Introduction.” In Modern Critical Interpretations: Beowulf, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

 

Chickering, Howell D.. Beowulf A dual-Language Edition. New York: Anchor Books, 1977.

 

Frank, Roberta. “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History.” In Beowulf – Modern Critical Interpretations, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

 

The Holy Bible, edited by dom Bernard Orchard. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1966.

 

Ward & Trent, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907–21; New York: Bartleby.com, 2000

 

 

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
paganbeo Pagan and Heathen Elements in Beowulf Essays - Pagan/Heathen Elements in Beowulf        In Beowulf the pagan element, which coexists alongside the Christian, sometimes in a seemingly contradictory fashion, is many faceted.   Certainly the pagan element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text of Beowulf for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes. While the poet’s reflections and characters’ statements are mostly Christian, the customs and ceremonies, on the other hand, are almost entirely heathen/pagan. This fact seems to point to a heathen work which has undergone revision by Christian minstrels....   [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
1597 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Beowulf: The Outsiders - In the Anglo-Saxon poem called Beowulf the concept of outsiders is not only established through its monstrous antagonists, but also humanoid supporting characters. Conversely the protagonist, Beowulf, and his portrayal of godlike perfection allows the reader to interpret Beowulf himself as the central outcast, existing in an imperfect world. Beowulf becomes an outsider while in contrast with other generally perceived outcast characters such as Unferth or the monster Grendel and his unnamed mother....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]
:: 4 Works Cited
1088 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The cultural tension of the pagan and the Christian lie at the very heart of the poem. Paganism and Christianity in the Epic Poem "Beowoulf" - Christianity had recently took hold in England at the time of the writing of Beowulf. Many people believe that Beowulf is a Christian story, when in fact it is not. Instead, the poem reflects a society that has a deep pagan background and has brought with it stories from its pagan past. Beowulf is a Germanic tale that was likely first composed in the first half of the eighth century, but it was not until the late tenth century that it was committed to parchment. At the time of its writing, the Germanic tribes were clearly pagan, as seen by such evidence in the text as Beowulf’s cremation at the end of the epic and the direct reference to swearing oaths at “pagan shrines” (line 175)....   [tags: Hero, Poetry, Germanic]
:: 1 Works Cited
1234 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Pagan and Christian Elements in Beowulf Essay - Pagan and Christian Elements in Beowulf                 The praised epic poem, Beowulf, is the first great heroic poem in English literature. The epic follows a courageous warrior named Beowulf throughout his young, adult life and into his old age. As a young man, Beowulf becomes a legendary hero when he saves the land of the Danes from the hellish creatures, Grendel and his mother. Later, after fifty years pass, Beowulf is an old man and a great king of the Geats. A monstrous dragon soon invades his peaceful kingdom and he defends his people courageously, dying in the process....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
:: 5 Works Cited
2163 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Christian and Pagan Elements in Beowulf Essay - In eighth century Anglo-Saxon society, history was passed down as oral stories, as writing historical events was too troublesome as there were too many dialects. In addition, in eighth century Anglo-Saxon society, there was an important transition from the old pagan traditions to the new theology of Christianity. Thus, as new stories were being told, to make them apply to the audience, Christianity had to be incorporated. Coming out of this age of transition, Beowulf has various Christian colorings along with the pagan traditions of old....   [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]
:: 11 Works Cited
1145 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay Comparing the Concept of God in Beowulf and Other Anglo-Saxon Poems - The Concept of God in Beowulf and Other Anglo-Saxon Poems            Is the concept of God mentioned only in Beowulf or is it a common element in all Anglo-Saxon poetry. Is the concept of God described the same way as in Beowulf.   Beowulf presents a mixture of Christian and pagan elements Hrothgar is demonstrably a monotheist, bu this people were offering sacrifice to pagan gods when Grendel caused them to despair. Let’s try to clarify the concept of God in this poem. In the early lines of this classic we see what is meant by GOD and by GOODNESS, as embodied or exemplified by the king, in this case by King Scyld Scefing:   he grew under heaven,              prospered in honors...   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
1814 words
(5.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Beowulf - Pagan or Christian Epic? Essay - Beowulf Pagan or Christian Epic Beowulf: Pagan or Christian Epic. Although the story of Beowulf is filled with references to religion and faith, many discrepancies occur throughout the story that suggest that Beowulf is not a Christian epic. The character of Beowulf frequently speaks to God and obviously believes in His existence. However, pagan practices are mentioned in several places. Beowulf often refers to another being rather than the Christian God. Pagan practices of cremation and blood-drinking are included in the epic....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays] 1060 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Beowulf: A Christian and Pagan Poem Essay - Beowulf – a Christian-Pagan Poem        In Beowulf the pagan aspect is revealed through many passages and many heathen rites or customs in which the form of expression or the thought suggests pagan usage or beliefs. The Christian aspect is revealed through 68 passages in which the form of expression or the thought suggests Christian usage or doctrine (Blackburn 3). The Christian element seems to be too deeply imbedded in the text of Beowulf for us to conclude that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
:: 14 Works Cited
3471 words
(9.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Christian Sybolism in Beowulf Essay - Christian Sybolism in Beowulf Within the poem Beowulf, the poet utilizes the Christian religion to symbolize the elements of good and evil and Heaven and Hell. Beowulf is the oldest known English epic poem. The manuscripts date back to about 1000 A.D., when two scribes wrote it down for posterity. The poem was handed down from the Anglo-Saxon period, and through the retelling of the poem, it changed a little each time. The poem creates an oral depiction of an epic hero who strived to fight against the forces of evil....   [tags: Christianity epic Poem Beowulf Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
1609 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Mix of Pagan and Christian Ideas in Beowulf - The Mix of Pagan and Christian Ideas in Beowulf Beowulf was written in England around 1000 AD. "This provides us with an idea of a poem that was written during a time when the society had converted from paganism to christianity"(Cohen 138). "We know that paganism did exist alongside Christianity during the approximate era that Beowulf was composed"(Hall 61). "The Christian influences were combined with early folklore and heroic legends of dramatic tribes, early Beowulf scholars began to investigate whether or not Christian and biblical influences were added later to originally pagan influences"(Hall 61)....   [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
:: 6 Works Cited
1651 words
(4.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]