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A Review Of "Beowulf"

851 words - 3 pages

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. Thecharacters in the epic are newly found Christians who are trying to remain true to their new faithbut are weak and hence, in times of great trouble, they resort back to their Pagan traditions andgods out of fear. Pagan rituals in the book are usually present only as reflections of the past or intimes of the characters's greatest turmoil. Otherwise, in times of happiness and rejoicing, theyworship their one, almighty, Christian God.When Grendel is attacking Herot, and it's people think they are in their greatest danger,the people of Herot 'sacrificed to the old stone gods / Made heathen vows / hoping for Hell'sSupport, the Devil's guidance in driving their affliction off.' (175-178). With the use of the word'old' in this section, it can be inferred that the stone gods are things of the past. The rest of thepassage shows that it was because of the doubt and fear, instilled in the people by Grendel, thatthe people of Herot regressed back to their old gods. The use of the word 'heathen' shows thatthe soldiers were already Christian and reverted back to their old ways.Soon after this statement, the poem reads:Beware, those who are thrust into danger,Clutched at by trouble, yet can carry no solaceIn their hearts, cannot hope to be better! HailTo those who will rise to God, drop offTheir dead bodies and seek our Father's peace!This says that the people whose fear consumes them to the point that they lose faith that,after death, their souls will not be granted eternal peace by the Father, God. This illustrates thatthe soldiers who have fallen from faith in their worship are doing so only because of great fear,but that they are looked down upon by God and good Christians. It says that only those who willsacrifice themselves and trust in God will be let into Heaven. These soldiers know this but are tooscared to keep faith.During the telling of the origins of Grendel, there is mention that Grendel is a product ofCain, a Christian character. This is a way that the characters of the book justify their belief inmonsters. If they can say that the monster comes from a biblical character, then they can't holdthemselves as blasphemers for believing in the Pagan idea of monsters. The characters are bothscared of the monster that is taking their lives and of what will happen if they show a lack of faith,as is...

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