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Anglo- Saxon Conversion: Dream of the Rood and Beowulf

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Why has religion always been such a complicated topic? Why can it not just be as simple as praying to God for good health? Religion has been the source of many problems for thousands of years including the time period in which two of the most famous works were written. Paganism being converted into Christianity was a vast issue presented during this time. Throughout this paper the dictional similarities of the purposes of the authors of the Dream of the Rood and Beowulf will be compared and discussed. Both authors present their goals by using characteristics of the Norse Mythological Gods, to describe the heroes in both poems to lead their readers, the Anglo- Saxons, to convert to Christianity.
There is a lot of historical context that is involved with this topic which describes the struggles in Britain in converting the people into Christianity. Anglo-Saxons that came into Britain were originally pagan which consisted of them worshipping gods of nature and trees and rocks. They would pray to these gods for materialistic things such as a good harvest or to win an upcoming battle. The native people were Christian and because of the speed in which this conversion happened it is understandable that the Pope Gregory wanted all paganism out. This was a lengthy process that took many years to actually be accomplished. The process began in 597 when Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine in this mission which was a conversion into Christian ideas that was harsh and rapid. The Pagan churches were stripped from the gods they worshiped into places for Christianity to be worshipped. The entire conversion did not begin with the people but with the king himself first which was why the changes shoved into the pagan worshipers. After the last Pagan kin...

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...new god in a simpler way.
The author of Beowulf presents the same goal to Christianize the pagans through his descriptions of characters. The two major societies presented in Beowulf are the Danes and Geats and they are supposed to completely represent Christianity and just that, however; paganism was seeped into the epic poem purposely by the author. As they have to suffer under Grendel’s constant attacks, the Danes “turn to their heathen gods for help” and “at pagan shrines they vowed offerings to idols, swore oaths that the killer of souls might come to their aid” which are all things that Pagans would do (175-177). Because the author has Christian rulers but has them doing what Pagans would do in this same situation his goal in presented. This is exactly what Pagans do, they worship Gods and ask them for materialistic things such as winning wars and battles.
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