Essay PreviewMore ↓
Beowulf's Pagan Traditions
Beowulf, an epic poem written in the late tenth-century, in the kingdom of the West Saxons, steeping with pagan tradition, this epic depicts nature as hostile and forces of death uncontrollable. Blind fate chooses random victims and people never feel at peace with the world. Also Beowulf ends as a failure to help heal the wounds of his society. Although there are parts of this statement which can be construed as true, for the most part, it doesn't give Beowulf the credit he deserves. For someone whose life was cut short, Beowulf did many great deeds for his time in the world.
The statement illustrates nature as hostile and forces of nature uncontrollable. This fraction of the statement is contradicted in the beginning, as the setting is being described, "...these beautiful plains marked off by oceans/then proudly setting the sun and moon to glow across the land and the light it...(8-9). This sets the scene as peaceful, soothing and calm. "The corners of the earth were made lovely with trees/and leaves, made quick with life..."(11-12). When you think of oceans and trees, it brings a sense of reassurance of nature's beauty, not its hostility. Within Beowulf there are obvious places where nature isn't on the peoples side, and many problems arise during this complex tale, but this opening landscape paints a different picture of the period, which followed me throughout the rest of the poem.
Despite the fact that many innocent people died within the poem, the phrase, "blind fate picks random victims" can be used for many instances. This phrase is even true today; many innocent people are random victims of violence within our society. Fate isn't something that can be argued lightly. In Grendel's introduction he, "Snatched up thirty men/smashed them unknowingly in their beds..."(37-38). This can be taken to mean that these men were meant to die that night at the hand of the evil monster Grendel, that it was their fate. But on the other hand, on line 36 it states, "He slipped through the door and there in silence..." Which indicates that Grendel didn't try to handpick his victims, but just went for anyone that he could grab.
How to Cite this Page
"paganbeo Beowulf's Pagan Traditions." 123HelpMe.com. 07 Apr 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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)
- The Pagan Aspect of Beowulf 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 poet’s heroic age is full of men both ‘emphatically pagan and exceptionally good,’ men who believe in a God whom they thank at every imaginable opportunity. Yet they perform all the pagan rites known to Tacitua, and are not Christian” (Frank 52). Certainly the pagan element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down.... [tags: Epic Beowulf essays]
2110 words (6 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)
- “Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster, God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip. Grendel’s plan, I think, will be what it has been before, to invade this hall and gorge his belly with our bodies.” (Lines 268-273) This quote was said by Beowulf a little while before he fought Grendal. This quote shows that Beowulf is ready to risk his life to save his people from a monster that has killed many people. He does this throughout this epic; fighting battles with different monsters that put his people’s lives in danger.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
704 words (2 pages)
- During the Anglo-Saxon times, the values and beliefs of the Germanic people were considerably different from the beliefs and values of the modern age, which were reflected in the oldest surviving Old English piece of literature, Beowulf. Beowulf is an epic poem written anonymously during the Anglo-Saxon period in England spanning from the fifth century to the eleventh century. The epic poem takes place in sixth-century Scandinavia. “Recited originally in Old English, Beowulf is based on legends and chronicles of the various Northern Europeans who migrated to England.”(Literature: The British Tradition 18).... [tags: Beowulf, Germanic peoples, Anglo-Saxons]
1000 words (2.9 pages)
- Beowulf: A Story Told in One Mothers Point-of-View She, Grendels mother, awakens to the faint sound and smell of the things known as men. She has been sleeping down in her dark and dingy cave below the world that is known to men. She has been biding her time, and plotting her revenge against the man that murdered her son. All that she had left in the cold and unforgivable world was her only son. Her only child was the being men despised and called Grendel. She lifts her head from the cold cavern floor, and her ears prick up as she hears a sound in the water beyond the entrance to her lair.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
646 words (1.8 pages)
- Christian and Pagan Influence in Paradise Lost and Beowulf In Paradise Lost, Milton is adept at drawing from both Christian and pagan sources and integrating them in such a way that they reinforce one another (Abrams 1075). Of course it is a commonplace for critics to believe that Milton valued his Christian sources more highly than the pagan ones (Martindale 20); this is most likely due to the fact that he regarded the Christian sources as vessels of the truth. His classical allusions, on the other hand, served as references for things fallen or damned.... [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast christbeo paganbeo]
4080 words (11.7 pages)
- The Themes of Beowulf George Clark in “The Hero and the Theme” comments on his insights into the theme of the Old English poem Beowulf: The poem opens with an illustration and assertion that success is achieved only by praiseworthy deeds and closes commending the hero’s pursuit of fame. . . .The poem’s creation of Beowulf gives its theme ethical force. . . .The poem’s three great stories lead the audience from an assured vision of a benevolently ordered world to the existential world of its minor stories where only the heroic will can achieve a lasting value, the memory and fame of praiseworthy deeds (271).... [tags: Epic Beowulf themebeo]
1522 words (4.3 pages)
- Beowulf Since the dawn of time, the forces of evil have always tried to gain an upper hand over the forces of good. The battles between these two forces have transcended time in both different forms and in different places. Every culture since the birth of man has background stories of creation and the battles that are waged between the two forces of light and dark. Leaving in the aftermath, stories and legends that are passed down from generation to generation through the vast cultures and civilizations.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
1821 words (5.2 pages)
- Beowulf Beowulf was written during the Anglo-Saxon time period. Beowulf is a story about a young warrior and his quest through life. Some people consider Beowulf a tragic hero, and some people just consider him a hero period. Whether Beowulf is a tragic hero or not, he fights many great battles. The reason Beowulf fights stays basically the same but it changes a little. In the beginning of the book, Beowulf goes to help the Danes out by killing Grendel. Grendel is a ferocious monster that has been killing the Danes in the mead hall (115).... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
828 words (2.4 pages)
- Foreshadowing in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
- The Fateful Ending in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
- The Failure of Society in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
- Rereading Atwood's Surfacing
- The Tragedy in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
- Hamlet Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
As the poem comes to an end the shocking truth of Beowulf's death becomes a reality. To say that Beowulf dies a failure just because he couldn't control the hostility of nature is unjust. Beowulf stood up to the evil monster Dragon when all his men ran scared. In the end, it cost him his life and he was hailed as a hero and a King. After he killed Grendel he became a hero, then defeating Grendel's mother he became King of the Geats. He has made it through fifty years of a prosperous life, which was more than unusual for people in that time. Some of Beowulf's decisions are said to be foolhardy and irresponsible, "Often when one man follows his own will/many are hurt. This happened to us." (3077-3078) But he tries to stand up for what he believes is right and pushes for the ultimate goal: To defeat evil and make nature peaceful again. He lives a complete life and dies with honor, good will, and the full-fledged respect of all his people. Death isn't an absolute for him; it was a much-needed vacation after such a journey through his life. Beowulf didn't die a failure but lives on as a hero and the greatest King the Geats ever know.