In Beowulf, a tension arises between the natural construction of the poem and the Christian ideals added. Before the advent of Christianity, paganism placed an emphasis on wyrd. According to Christianity, God instills within mankind a sense of free will, which directly contrasts with the pagan idea of fate. Throughout Beowulf, these characteristics of paganism and Christianity transmute together. Beowulf instills the principle of fate within his speeches, as when he talks about how “fate saves an undoomed man when his courage is good” (11). However, previously in the poem, Beowulf graciously thanks “God that the wave-way had been easy for them” (5). In the fight with Grendel, Beowulf does not depend on his weapons, but his innate strength. As King Hrothgar states “‘Fate always goes as it must’” (9), Beowulf trusts in his own abilities, and not those created by man. As a young warrior, Beowulf “had long been despised” (38), but “change came to the famous man for each of his troubles” (38). Beowulf’s realizat...
... middle of paper ...
...etween the Danes becomes more than the typical warfare, but done for moral reasons. In Beowulf, individuals differ based upon their alterative motives, but the fight against the evilness of Grendel and his mother proves to become the biggest fight that Beowulf overcomes.
Beowulf encompasses several reasons for critics to decipher it as either a Christian allegory or a pagan fable, but in actuality, the epic becomes a combination of the two. Due to the intertwining ideas of wyrd and the will of God, the distinct ideals of the afterlife, and conflicting views of the entity, Beowulf epitomizes the attempts by Christian monks to turn the parable into a Christian novel; however, these efforts proved mixed. In the end, the poem shows efforts to proselytize pagan worshipers by the Church, but those endeavors remained inconsequential until the Christianization of the world.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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]
2163 words (6.2 pages)
- Pagan and Christian Rituals in Beowulf Beowulf was written in a time when Christianity was a newly budding religion in England. Throughout the book there are obvious references to both Christian and Pagan rituals. The characters in the epic are newly found Christians who are trying to remain true to their new faith but are weak and hence, in times of great trouble, they resort back to their Pagan traditions and gods out of fear. Pagan rituals in the book are usually present only as reflections of the past or in times of the characters's greatest turmoil.... [tags: Epic Beowulf christbeo paganbeo]
922 words (2.6 pages)
- 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]
1145 words (3.3 pages)
- The author of the epic poem Beowulf is unknown, and similarly to the Illiad by Plato its origins remain a mystery. Throughout the poem there are many clues that Beowulf has become a tradition and was passed down orally for centuries, and finally have been translated from the “old English” that it possibly could have been originally recited as, to the English we know today. In the poem Beowulf a bard recites poetry orally, or in a song, usually telling stories about historical triumphs and adventures.... [tags: Epic Poems, Grendel, Anglo-Saxon]
2304 words (6.6 pages)
- TITLE A compelling ending of a literary work does not simply end; it continues evolving in the minds of the readers well past its final pages. In the epic poem Beowulf written by an English monk and translated by Seamus Heaney, the hero Beowulf meets his death as he fights a dragon during the final pages. Previously, Beowulf displays many heroic traits defending King Hrothgar and the Danes against the evil, God-cursed monster, Grendel, and Grendel’s malignant mother. Beowulf returns to his home in Geatland where he rules as king for fifty years.... [tags: Beowulf, Epic poetry, Homer, Greek loanwords]
1159 words (3.3 pages)
- Beowulf was written around 700 A.D. by an unknown author. While it is a part of English Literature, it does not take place in England. Instead, it tells the reader events that happened in Sweden and on the Danish island of Zealand. The pagan and Christian references suggest that the poem is most likely written about the time that the Anglo-Saxon society was converting from paganism to Christianity. Monasteries provided a place for learning and they also saved some of the manuscripts, such as the story Beowulf.... [tags: afterlife, hero, conflict]
777 words (2.2 pages)
- The European epic, Beowulf, was written sometime in the eighth century in England. This time period provides us with an idea for the mixture of Christian and pagan elements because of an English society that was in the process of converting from Paganism to Christianity. Examples of Pagan and Christian traditions are presented all throughout literature. Many of the influences deal with what it going on in the world, when the piece is written. When Beowulf was written, St. Augustine had just come over to try and convert the Anglo-Saxon people to Christianity; although the conversion succeeded it was a shallow conversion, and there were still people following the Pagan ways.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
1638 words (4.7 pages)
- Pagan Burial Rites in the Epic of Beowulf Scores of essays are written about the Christian influence on the Beowulf poet. Most notable Beowulf scholars such as Kl‘ber, Robinson and Whitelock do not fail to address the matter. Given the complexity of the issue and the proliferation of evidence within the poem, we can understand the universal appeal of this topic. The poet transposes his Christian convictions onto a story which formed in a culture devoid of Christianity. In many instances, however, the poem's pagan basis shines through.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
1715 words (4.9 pages)
- Beowulf and Religious Affiliation When we look at Beowulf through the eyes of religion, we see two distinctly different elements mingled together as one. In this period, before Christianity took root throughout the world, pagan religions were still widely practiced. There is evidence of this throughout Beowulf. There is also, however, evidence of strong Christian influence as well. Because of the diversity of peoples living in the land at that time, different cultures were mixed together, each taking on characteristics of the other.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
525 words (1.5 pages)
- Christianity vs. Paganism In the story of Beowulf, there is a noticeable struggle between Christianity and Paganism, and the characters personal battle between the two. Throughout the story the characters display actions that lead towards Paganism and Christianity. Contrary to Pagan belief Beowulf is seen as the epitome of good and beneficent to all of mankind. In Beowulf, the people showed their faith and love in God, however due to horrific events, paranoia caused them to look for a quick fix and turns them to Paganism.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
672 words (1.9 pages)