Beowulf’s Gory Allegory
In the dark ages people were always looking for a deeper meaning in everything and rightly so, seeing as the authors of that time often wrote in allegories. Lacking technology and education, information was best spread through stories that could be easily recited. Different groups would use different influences, full of deep symbolism, to better illustrate their message. The monks flooded the pagan epic Beowulf with christian influence and reserved the last books as an allegory of Christ’s crucifixion. In this epic, the monks used uncanny and deliberate parallels with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ such as Beowulf’s twelve warriors abandoning him, his sacrificial death, being martyred for the will of God, and being a humble king whose followers offer them praise and glory.
As readers of both The Bible and Beowulf will notice both protagonist were accompanied by 12 followers. Out of “twelve of the braves Geats” eleven left Beowulf when his was faced with certain death, and in the gospel readers can see that Jesus’s twelve disciples, excluding John, abandoned him as he faced his greatest battle, death.(884) “ his comrades/...they ran for their lives...And only one of them/ Remained” (691-695). Wiglof, the only remaining brave warrior, is viewed as the disciple John’s parallel. During Jesus’s battle against evil and death, he sees his only remaining disciple and asks him to take care of his family just as Beowulf gave command for the Geats to do if he died in battle “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’”(John 19:26-27). Small details like these throughout the epic ...
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......disciples...worshiped him;...Jesus came to them a said …’go and make disciples of all nations.’” (Matt 28:16-19). These two selections show that both the followers although they abandoned their king at death were remorseful and carried out their master’s dying wishes. Both of their loyal followers wanted to share of how great a master they had served that other may come to know of his glory.
These lines contain staggering evidence that the author of this tale wanted to capture many if not all of the story of Christ 's crucifixion in an easy to understand manner for the people of that time. By paralleling the disciples and warriors, the righteous deaths of God’s will, and the great commissioning the author was able to convey a strong message. How often in the modern day do people get caught up in their lives and forget to look for a deeper meaning in all things.
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