Comparing Beowulf and Jesus

469 Words2 Pages
Beowulf's character is very much similar to that of Jesus' in many ways. To the Danes he is recognized as a saviour, releasing them from the bonds of fear and death that Grendel had placed on Hrothgar's people. Friederich Klaeber writes that the poet raised Beowulf, "To the rank of a singularly spotless hero, a defending, protecting, redeeming being, a truly ideal character. In fact we need not hesitate to recognize features of the Christian Saviour in the destroyer of hellish fiends, the warrior brave and gentle, blameless in thought and deed, the king that dies for his people." (Klaeber 11). The battle with Grendel is a direct conflict between the powers of good and evil. Grendel is perceived as nothing short of an incarnation of the Christian devil. Many of his characteristics resemble those of Satan; he belongs to the lineage of Cain, the first murderer, and his home stirs up visions of hell (Norton 45-48). The dragon also resembles that of Satan. Lusting over gold and riches, the dragon protects his hoard with fire and fear. In Revelation 12:9, Satan is revealed as "the great dragon...the serpent of old". In the events including the battle with the dragon, one might notice a striking similarity with that of Jesus' experience in the garden of Gethsemane (Mathew 26:36-56). It is here that Jesus ventured with His 11 disciples (minus Judas) and was willingly seized to be later crucified and killed. The disciples had done nothing to help Him while Jesus accepted His own death for the benefit of His people. Beowulf, escorted by eleven lords also confronts his own death while his men abandon him in fear. It is only one, Wiglaf, who chooses to stand bravely beside his liege-lord in battle (Norton 60-62). In likeness, Peter follows Jesus and His captors from a distance to see the outcome of the trial. In contrast, Peter denies Jesus in fear rather than help Him (Mathew 26:58-75). The Christian elements in the poem are almost clearly without question so deeply ingrained within the poem that one cannot explain it away as mere coincidence. When all the evidence is noted (and there is even more beyond that which is stated here), one can not ignore the overwhelming presence of a

More about Comparing Beowulf and Jesus

Open Document