The poem Beowulf was written in England sometime in the 8th century. It was written during a time when the society was in the process of being converted from paganism to Christianity. The Christian influences are combined with early folklore and heroic legends of Germanic tribes. Yet, the pagan elements in the epic poem Beowulf clearly overshadow the Christian elements, and it is visible in the character’s superhuman personifications, their hunger for revenge, and their strong belief in fate.
The main character, Beowulf, is depicted as a superhero in many of his extraordinary battles. During the battle with Grendel's mother, when Beowulf realizes that Unferth's sword is useless against the monster’s thick skin, he grabs “…the best of all weapons / But so massive that no ordinary man could lift / Its carved and decorated length”(1558-1561). This shows the significance of Beowulf’s strength, because if it were any other man, they would not be able to lift this sword and kill Grendel’s mother. His strength is far superior to any other human, and therefore Beowulf fits th...
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- 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)
- 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)
- Before the invention of the printing press or written history, oral history, especially in early Germanic culture, became the foremost means of transcribing values, and past events. Written down in approximately 1,000 A.D. by an unknown author, Beowulf, originally a pagan fable, became a Christian allegory upon its transcription by Christian monks. However, as scholars have debated over the religious context in Beowulf, the attempts by the monks to turn the epic poem into a Christian parable ended merged, including both original and Christian aspects.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
1328 words (3.8 pages)
- 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]
3471 words (9.9 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)
- Throughout literature there have been countless parallels and references to the story of Christ as written in the Bible. Even in such unexpected places as in seemingly pagan poems of ancient Danes and Geats- an epic with dragons and monsters- one still finds similar biblical allusions. In just such an unexpected place, the epic Beowulf, it's title hero and his circumstance, become an allegory for the story of Christ. In this sense, Beowulf can be seen as a Christian story of salvation. The similarities between Beowulf and the story of Christ are striking.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
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- 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]
1651 words (4.7 pages)
- 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]
1597 words (4.6 pages)
- The author of Beowulf incorporated the pagan and Christian concepts of fate to promote a system of monarchy where power is passed on through heirs as opposed to the system where the greatest, strongest warrior claims the throne. By attributing accomplishments to fate and declaring them to be acts of God, the author makes the pursuit of glory less attractive. This new interpretation of fate shows how the gathering of fame and glory can lead to more violence, which in turn makes glory less desired.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
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- "How the Almighty had made the earth a gleaming plain girdled with waters; in His splendor He set the sun and the moon to be earth's lamplight, lanterns for men and filled the broad lap of the world with branches and leaves; and quickened life in every other thing that moved."(Line 92) In this quote, the author describes how God made the earth and depicts reasons for him creating the sun and moon, saying that it acts like a lantern for men, lighting the earth. The author also describes how God gave life to everything else.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
723 words (2.1 pages)