Anglo- Saxon Conversion: Dream of the Rood and Beowulf

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Why has religion always been such a complicated topic? Why can it not just be as simple as praying to God for good health? Religion has been the source of many problems for thousands of years including the time period in which two of the most famous works were written. Paganism being converted into Christianity was a vast issue presented during this time. Throughout this paper the dictional similarities of the purposes of the authors of the Dream of the Rood and Beowulf will be compared and discussed. Both authors present their goals by using characteristics of the Norse Mythological Gods, to describe the heroes in both poems to lead their readers, the Anglo- Saxons, to convert to Christianity.
There is a lot of historical context that is involved with this topic which describes the struggles in Britain in converting the people into Christianity. Anglo-Saxons that came into Britain were originally pagan which consisted of them worshipping gods of nature and trees and rocks. They would pray to these gods for materialistic things such as a good harvest or to win an upcoming battle. The native people were Christian and because of the speed in which this conversion happened it is understandable that the Pope Gregory wanted all paganism out. This was a lengthy process that took many years to actually be accomplished. The process began in 597 when Pope Gregory sent St. Augustine in this mission which was a conversion into Christian ideas that was harsh and rapid. The Pagan churches were stripped from the gods they worshiped into places for Christianity to be worshipped. The entire conversion did not begin with the people but with the king himself first which was why the changes shoved into the pagan worshipers. After the last Pagan king died the conversion seemed complete in 655 but the harsh conversion did not take away many Pagans beliefs, which left a blend of both Paganism and Christianity in Britain that slowly began to fade away as time went on and laws were put in place to deter any more pagan worship.
In the Dream of the Rood the author’s purpose of Christianizing pagans is seen throughout the poem through the word choice of the author. In the second sentence of the poem Christian influence is seen when the sinner explains how “[he] saw a most rare tree reach high aloft, wound in light, brightest of beans” which can be directly compared to a famous Christian prayer, The Nicene Creed(). In the Nicene Creed the phrase “light from light” is familiar to the description of the tree as being covered in light and being the brightest of lights which describes the Christian influence of the poem (). Other examples of the Nicene Creed’s influence of the writing are towards the end of the poem when the tree speaks to the sinner explaining how “Almighty God suffered… [and] tasted death” because of man’s sins and “yet the Lord arose again… then he climbed to the heavens.” These lines are familiar to the Nicene Creed’s “for us and for our salvation… he...

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