This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

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:
Beowulf,
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...

Find Another Essay On Christian and Pagan Virtues Displayed in Beowulf

Beowulf: Pagan or Christian? Essay

1006 words - 5 pages Beowulf was written around 700 A.D. by an unknown author. While it is a part of English Literature, it does not take place in England. Instead, it tells the reader events that happened in Sweden and on the Danish island of Zealand. The pagan and Christian references suggest that the poem is most likely written about the time that the Anglo-Saxon society was converting from paganism to Christianity. Monasteries provided a place for learning and

Beowulf - Pagan or Christian Epic?

1085 words - 4 pages Beowulf Pagan or Christian Epic Beowulf: Pagan or Christian Epic? Although the story of Beowulf is filled with references to religion and faith, many discrepancies occur throughout the story that suggest that Beowulf is not a Christian epic. The character of Beowulf frequently speaks to God and obviously believes in His existence. However, pagan practices are mentioned in several places. Beowulf often refers to another being rather

Beowulf: Pagan Tale With Christian Additives

1283 words - 6 pages so much that the beliefs, as well as the customs followed by most Pagan religions, directly break firm commandments and rules set in Christianity. Having the main characters appear to be believers of both religions continuously confuses the reader and disrupts the flow of the poem. Since Beowulf originated as a pagan poem, it then makes sense that the Christian elements were brought to the poem later, possibly at the time of it's first

paganbeo Pagan and Heathen Elements in Beowulf

1825 words - 7 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

"Beowulf" and connection to Pagan Christianity

597 words - 2 pages pagan warriors, the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian invaders experienced a large-scale conversion to Christianity at the end of the sixth century. Though still an old pagan story, Beowulf thus came to be told by a Christian poet. The Beowulf poet is often at pains to attribute Christian thoughts and motives to his characters, which frequently behave in un-Christian ways. The Beowulf that we read today is therefore probably quite unlike the Beowulf with

Christian Allegory in Beowulf

1227 words - 5 pages ” makes good use of allusion to illuminate Christian truths. McNamee notes that “That the Beowulf-poet has gone out of his way to exclude all the old pagan gods from an active place in his poem. The god referred to throughout by Hrothgar and Beowulf alike is the one, providential God of the Christians” (An Allegory of Salvation). This allusion to only one God would no doubt crucial to fostering an understanding of the Christian monotheism in the

How to Navigate Pagan Parenting in a Christian Society

2461 words - 10 pages in a world that may be less tolerant of their own beliefs. There is no one right way on the subject of childrearing, but there are plenty of ways not to raise your child. There are also many factors involved that must be taken into consideration and most of those factors differ from one child to the next. In order to understand and eventually answer the question of how to navigate Pagan parenting in a Christian society, we first need some

Epic of Beowulf - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf

2046 words - 8 pages Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf        In Beowulf the Christian element, which coexists alongside the pagan or heathen, sometimes in a seemingly contradictory fashion, is many faceted.   Certainly the Christian 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. The Christian element had to be included

The cultural tension of the pagan and the Christian lie at the very heart of the poem. Paganism and Christianity in the Epic Poem "Beowoulf"

1518 words - 7 pages Christianity itself are oddly missing. So the protagonists, like Hrothgar, do not acknowledge let alone advocate Christian doctrine. Rather, the values and virtues of the poem lie in serving the clan: being a member of the group and not being an outsider. The cultural tension of the pagan and the Christian lie at the very heart of the poem. The England of Beowulf was a wild and under-populated land. The isolated settlements were little centers of human

Heroism displayed in the epic novel of BEOWULF and Sir Gawain. This essay compares and contrasts these two characters and defines what makes a true hero

1116 words - 4 pages Beowulf was written in the eighth century by monks. The word Beowulf means bee-hunter. It was the first book ever written. The Norse tale is principally concerning the exploits of the warrior Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon times. Beowulf most definitely proves to be a hero in this epic for he is able to conquer his obstacles due to his super-human physical strength, determination and courage.Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through

A Comparison of Nihilistic and Christian Archetypes in Beowulf and John Gardner's Grendel

2095 words - 8 pages people and seemingly the embodiment of goodness, is portrayed as lacking that which truly can objectively define goodness, for Grendel (G) quickly perceives that Beowulf (G) has no soul, it is a dark and frightening turn of events following the peoples’ rejection of God: Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed Offerings to idols, swore oaths That the killer of souls might come to their aid And save the people. That was their way… Deep in their

Similar Essays

Pagan And Christian Elements In Beowulf

2182 words - 9 pages Pagan and Christian Elements in Beowulf                 The praised epic poem, Beowulf, is the first great heroic poem in English literature. The epic follows a courageous warrior named Beowulf throughout his young, adult life and into his old age. As a young man, Beowulf becomes a legendary hero when he saves the land of the Danes from the hellish creatures, Grendel and his mother. Later, after fifty years pass, Beowulf is an old man and

Pagan And Christian Influences In Beowulf

2303 words - 9 pages . The poet of Beowulf uses all of the elements of the heroic narrative in this story. The suggestions that Judeo-Christian elements were added later on by another person become very clear in the story. There are obviously contradicting ideas and beliefs between paganism and Judeo-Christian dogma. There are several instances when there is an addition of Christian elements to Pagan ideas. The mentioning of stories from the Old Testament is very

Christian And Pagan Influence In Paradise Lost And Beowulf

4174 words - 17 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

Pagan And Christian Concepts Of Fate In Beowulf

1539 words - 6 pages next king. By Wiglaf becoming the new king, we see that the future institution of power will revolve around inheritance through kin. This point of view was all shaped by the author's presentation of fate being in god's hands. The revisionist monk who wrote Beowulf incorporated the pagan and Christian concepts of fate to promote a system of monarchy where power is passed on through heirs as opposed to the system where the greatest