Christian Elements in Beowulf Essay

Pages: 4 (1295 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
The concept of God plays a huge role in the poem, as God is the one who provides protection to the warrior through his most dangerous moments and trying times. Beowulf and the other clansmen are constantly referring to the God's protection and savoir. After the final battle with Grendel's mother, Beowulf claims that "the fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me." This is interesting because in many ways it aims to rectify the need for the warrior to achieve glory and fame which is discussed earlier. By attributing this victory God, the warrior in the transitioning culture can enjoy the quest for glory from older pagan traditions but justifies it through a newly formed Christian lens, where God grants the warrior that fame and glory. The warrior is still allowed to go after that fame and glory, but only through the "through the power of the Lord." Beowulf really believes that he could not have been successful without the help and protection of God. Again, this ties the older pagan culture and a newer Christian tradition together in a practical and functional way. The author of the poem does insert religious elements right at the right moments when Beowulf does need all the help he can get. In the same battle with Grendel's mother, Beowulf finds a sword that is supposed to be given to him from God. Thus, the poem states that "but the wielder of men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient great-sword." This monotheistic deity seems to provide protection to those in the most desperate of needs within the epic poem. Thus, it is referenced that "most often He has guided the man without friends." Ultimately, the fame and glory is given to the warrior who aligns himself with the Christian God.

Throughout the poem, other pagan motifs are combined with a strong Christian influence. There are a number of allusions to the Bible throughout the epic poem.

Essay on Christian Elements in Beowulf Assignment

Grendel is described in a way that makes him reminiscent of Cain, the Biblical figure who murdered his brother. This allusion is meant to show the sheer evil that is Grendel, since he is "the hostile-hearted creature, God's enemy, guilty of murder." This is meant to really show how evil Grendel is. Additionally, there is an allusion to the flood that Noah had to build an arc to save the wildlife of the earth. In the Bible, the great flood was meant to purge earth of the desecrated human populations that had forgotten their connection to God and lived in endless sin. Noah alone was charged with building an arc to save the rest of God's creatures as seen in Genesis in the Old Testament. This flood is also mentioned to in Beowulf. Here, the poem reads "the origin of ancient strife, when the flood, rushing water, slew the race of giants they suffered terribly: that was a people alien to the Everlasting Lord. The Ruler made them a last payment through waters welling." This story is mentioned to refer back to the concept that the ancient sword came from the very population that God was purging from the earth through the mighty flood waters. This sword was supposedly created by giants, who were also descendents of Cain just like Grendel and his mother.

Overall, there is an interesting mix between pagan and Christian themes that is indicative of the changing times of the poem. There are still pagan influences lingering in the text. Yet, in the end, Beowulf thanks God for his victory; "thankfulness to God the king of glory, our eternal Lord."

Work Cited

Beowulf. Translated from the Heyne-Socin Text by Lesslie Hall. Web. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16328/16328-h/16328-h.htm [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Christian Elements in Beowulf.  (2014, September 16).  Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/christian-elements-beowulf/6133690

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"Christian Elements in Beowulf."  Essaytown.com.  September 16, 2014.  Accessed January 26, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/christian-elements-beowulf/6133690.