It is common opinion that Beowulf was written by a Christian poet. This was probably true because at the time when it was written, most of the few people who knew how to read and write were in the clergy. There are various references within the poem to elements of the Christian religion. However, the story is about Pagan people and certain aspects of their culture are even glorified. The ambiguity of Beowulf’s religious content has caused confusion as to what significance religion had in inspiring the author and in what manner the author meant to inspire or influence his audience. I do not think that Beowulf is a Christian allegory because Beowulf had very little in common with the Biblical figure of Jesus Christ. I think that religion was not the primary thematic concern of the writer. Although there are discrepancies between the two styles of thinking, Beowulf seems to praise values which were considered moral and good among all humanity, both Christian and Pagan. The text of Beowulf clearly shows that at some point in time Biblical allusions were added to it, and suggests that someone learned in Christianity helped shape the story. The initial depiction of Grendel regarded the beast as “a fiend out of hell,” and claimed, “…he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.” References to hell, Cain, and “the Creator”, make it evident that Christian elements were present in the story. More importantly, the reference to “the Creator” shows that monotheistic theory was incorporated into the text. Grendel’s relationship to this “Creator” is further elaborated on, in which case the author refers to the latter as “Eternal Lord”, “Almighty”, and “God.” All four of which are common ways to refer to the individual Christian God, and were capitalized as would have been in the Bible. These allusions to Christian faith could lead a critic to assume that Beowulf is a Christian allegory. Critics who read the poem in this way often call Beowulf a Christ figure because he is a savior to his people. However, if the poem was really meant to be read in this way, I think that Beowulf would have been ultimately triumphant and would have survived his fight with the dragon. I do not claim to be a Biblical scholar but I can not remember any stories from the Bible where Christ did any killing or boasting. The themes of wealth and fame in Beowulf are interesting ones. I think that they are the main difference between the Pagan and Christian values in the story. Christianity teaches that people should do good deeds only for the sake of helping their fellow people. Christianity also teaches the importance of modesty. Beowulf does want to help his fellow man, and he is very selfless in doing so. However, Beowulf is also quite open about his desire for fame and treasure. I think that the reason Beowulf is more concerned with these things than a good Christian would be lies in his Pagan beliefs. Pagans did not believe in God, Satan, heaven or hell. Since the society of Beowulf did not believe in an afterlife, the only way they saw to transcend their physical lives was to accumulate great wealth and fame so that they would be remembered long after their deaths. I do not think that Pagan culture is completely celebrated in Beowulf though. The ideas of boasting, fame, and wealth are questioned in the poem. The text even stated that, “The high-born chiefs who had buried the treasure declared it until doomsday so accursed that whoever robbed it would be guilty of wrong and grimly punished for their transgression, hasped in hell-bonds in heathen shrines.” Unferth is another tool the author uses to question Beowulf’s integrity as a hero. Unferth points out Beowulf’s “sheer vanity” and accuses him of making idle boasts. I think it is important to note that Unferth does not question the idea of boasting in itself but only idle boasting. It is also important
Pagan vs. Christian Influences in Beowulf
At the time of its creation, Beowulf was influenced by Pagan rituals, deities and ideas, but by passing down the epic narrative word of mouth, an age of Christianity will have had a residual effect on the story. The mix of ideas is not a struggle for religious power in the story, but Paganism’s heroic ideals and Christianity’s self-sacrificing virtues blend to form a delicate mosaic that could have not been otherwise.…
Name: Imon/ 3-4-13/ English
THESIS: Beowulf is interesting because of what it shows us about Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture.
Your thesis #1: Beowulf gives an accurate description on Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture.
Your thesis #2: In Beowulf, essentials of Anglo-Saxon poetry and culture are incorporated throughout the story.
One aspect of Anglo-Saxon poetry that is evident in Beowulf is the use of kennings. These creative word-combinations appear throughout the story, naming objects in interesting…
An unknown Anglo-Saxon poet composed Beowulf, a pagan epic of grand proportions in 700 A.D. The poem takes place in 500 A.D before many of the Anglo-Saxons had been converted to Christianity; therefore, the poem has distinct pagan context. “The difficulty in Beowulf is that the pagan elements seem to confound the aesthetic effect, to destroy the consistency of tone” (Benson 36). Because Beowulf was orally narrated for many years before the tale was written down, the poem has been overly impacted…
September 2, 2014
The Anglo-Saxons historical and cultural background has a lot of influence on Beowulf. Beowulf poses as a great heroic warrior, because of his willingness to fight and kill off the blood-hungry Grendel during what is known as the Dark Ages. Through an all bloody battle between the two Beowulf is able to show off his heroism. Beowulf is willing to risk his life in order to save others and to kill the unstoppable blood-seeking Grendel.
converted the people from their pagan faith to Christianity. All of these things that characterized the Anglo Saxon period are apparent in the epic poem Beowulf.
Beowulf is a timeless example of first century western European Poetry . He shows the tradition of his warrior culture. The deeply ingrained tradition of the Anglo Saxon warriors is overflowing with Honor and protocol. An obvious example of their insistence on honor and bravery when Beowulf tells Hrothgar “To bear a blade or a broad-fashioned…
English II Honors- PINK
Beowulf Essay 2
Good Faces Evil and Prevails
“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”- Albert Einstein. Beowulf, whose author is unknown, is an epic poem that was written between 700 and 1000AD. Throughout the poem, there is a series of battles in which the main character, Beowulf, must defeat various monsters using his strength and God’s grace. Each battle draws a clear distinction between good and evil…
18 October 2012
Anglo-Saxon Society in Beowulf
J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings novels, was one of the first to realize the cultural importance of Beowulf. Much more than simply a tale of heroes and monsters, Beowulf offers us insights into the Anglo-Saxon culture. The author of Beowulf is unknown and this piece of literature has survived for thousands of years! Three aspects of their culture was religion, funeral traditions, and the armor and weapons they used during…
Religion in Beowulf to Everyman
In this context of Beowulf we find religion to be an very important subject in this time of day. and realize that religion plays a big factor in this writing. In the text Jesus is never mentioned but with that being said the text seems to be somewhat Christianized as there are multiple examples (references to the Cain and Abel stories of the Old Testament) of religion that are very similar if not the same as Christianity. The religion that the text…
BEOWULF SEMINARS—500 PTS.
This is a 5-page, 12-font, typed, double-spaced formal paper. There are no cover sheets, nor appendices, nor nothin’: just 5 pages of amazing analysis with a works cited page stapled to it at the back, for a total of 6 pages. No variation is acceptable. Any time from now on, this is to be how you write formal papers, though I may specify differing lengths. Your paper should loosely follow the structure of an AP Lit essay in that it contains unifying introductions and…
Beowulf was written in the Anglo-Saxon (8th and 11th century) which would be considered old English to us. Beowulf is a very courageous hero of whom this epic poem is about. It reflects the early medieval warrior culture of Europe. Beowulf is the oldest surviving piece of literature in English history. Beowulf is described as being strong and courageous as stated in (lines 110) he was the strongest of the Geats. Beowulf is written in alliteration…