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An Analytical View Of Beowulf Essay

3741 words - 15 pages

Was the story of Beowulf’s battle between good and evil a reflection of Christ battling Satan? There are 3 major battles within Seamus Heaney's edition of the epic poem Beowulf all of which earn Beowulf some heroic status for saving the town from the evil antagonists that lurk, but is there a deeper meaning behind these battles than just an old tale? Is there some metaphor we are supposed to perceive? Throughout Beowulf there are a lot of different themes to pick and choose from, some interesting and more prevailing ones are that of pride vs. humility and sacrifice vs. selfishness. Beowulf for example is very proud but at the same time humbles himself and offers his credit to the Lord. The bible states in Jeremiah 29:11 ‘“I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’ Seamus Heaney portrays Beowulf as a Christ-like figure to spread the ideals and values of Christianity and God’s Love to the audience.
Lots of works often presents insight into the time period in which it was written. Beowulf goes back many years ago when Christianity was just starting to become the more prominent religion instead of the old pagan ways. As Rich Lawson said, “Beowulf is a reflection of many Anglo-Saxon ideals and concepts.” This explains a lot of the contradictions between Paganism and Christianity throughout the epic poem. When you open the pages of Beowulf to begin to read, it states in the first page of the introduction that “The Poem called Beowulf was composed sometime between the middle of the seventh and the end of the tenth century of the first millennium…” it goes on to say “It’s narrative elements may belong to a previous age but as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present, equal to our knowledge of reality in the present time.” (S.H) It’s hard to know for sure what religion was the most popular in the 10th century because of the lack of primary sources, however Kelly B. Taylor states after her research that “the common people did have well-formed beliefs and theories that explained and incorporated natural phenomenon into the Christian mythology” proving that Christianity was indeed known at the time. However she also says it was taught a little differently than now a days, “Because most of the people were completely illiterate, a simpler way to express the fundamentals of the new religion had to be found. This ‘picture-book Christianity’ consisted primarily of the saints, prayer and blessings representing goodness and Christianity, and with the devil and various demons and evil spirits as heralds of evil and the causes of all ill in the world” (Kelly B. Taylor). Beowulf representing the hero of the story is illustrated as a saint. He is the answer to the prayers of the Danes whom needed to rid themselves of their demons.
Beowulf was translated by a Christian author. Later in the introduction, S.H says “and this circumference and pattern arise, of...

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