Christian And Pagan Virtues Displayed In Beowulf

1180 words - 5 pages

Many times in literature authors blend two dissimilar traditions and virtues in order to make up a persons true identity. In the epic poem Beowulf, the Christian allegory is woven with a pagan fable in order to truly represent the characters. The Christian and pagan virtues are successfully synchronized and amalgamate the story as a whole which is displayed by the two main characters, Beowulf and Grendel, through their personal traits.
Many Christian elements and values create the disposition of Beowulf. The author of Beowulf creates a character who seen as a Christ- like figure in that he possesses the Christian value of self-sacrifice and assists in the fight against evil. Beowulf is willing to die and defend his people, in this case the Danes, against the evil in which they are faced with. In doing this he uses the guidance and help from God. Beowulf continually refers to God’s will, support, and fate before and after his battles. The audience sees how Beowulf talks about fate and God’s will, determining who will come out with the victory in the fight before every fight. There are Biblical references that sustain the fact that Christian values contribute to define who the heroic warrior truly is. He was called as the chosen one to help defend and protect the people just like Jesus Christ was:
A prince of the Geats, had killed Grendel,
Ended the grief, the sorrow, the suffering
Forced on Hrothgar’s helpless people
By a bloodthirsty fiend (120-124).
Beowulf’s benevolence, generosity, and charity in this situation make him the epitome of Christ. Both Beowulf and Christ set out on an undertaking to help save other people from evil. Beowulf understands the responsibility he takes on in response to the plight of the oppressed Danes, just like Christ knew of the oppression of the Jewish people whom he saved. Beowulf desires to be the Christ-like hero, therefore he dissipates their sufferings and saved them from evil. The entire scene of the battle with Grendel’s mother runs parallel with Christ’s life. The pond that surrounds Grendel’s mothers murky house represents evil. Beowulf knows he is faced battling evil, is prepared for death, and forgives all his enemies. The submission into the murky pond distils Beowulf as he overcomes the evil of Grendel’s mother. He submerges from the water, just like Christ ascended into heaven. As Beowulf immerses from the battle with Grendel’s mother, he credits Christ again saying, “I’d have been dead at once,/And the fight finished, the she-devil victorious,/ If our Father in Heaven had not helped me” (310-312). As a final point, just as Christ had one last battle, so did Beowulf. The battle with the fire-breathing dragon was Beowulf’s last battle in which he came out with a victory, in that he defeated evil. Beowulf fought long and hard in his last battle with evil. Even though both Beowulf and Christ ultimately pass away in their final battles, they both were able to conquer evil. At the end...

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