Essay about christian and pagan ideals in beowulf 1335 words | 6 pages past events written down in approximately 1,000 ad by an unknown author, beowulf, originally a pagan fable, became a christian allegory upon its transcription by christian monks. The story of beowulf shows the effect of the spread of christianity in the early danish paganistic society that values heroic deeds and bravery above all else the mythical creatures that beowulf kills with his supernatural strength make the story into an epic celebrating the life of a great hero. Throughout the epic beowulf, the poet strives to accommodate two sets of belief systems: pagan belief system and christianity while the former often maintains earthly good, the latter, in contrast, asserts heavenly salvation although pagan value and christianity are characterized as a conflict.
Most of the paganism in beowulf is depicted through the lens of a medieval christian idea of what norse paganism was for example, grendel is called a demon and a monster, and his origins are. I think what the pagan element is is that beowulf's strengths come from beowulf himself, like in the more commonly knows stories of hercules, where christian heros like david (vs goliath) and st george (who slew the dragon) get their strength from god. Though he is christian, he cannot (and does not seem to want to) deny the fundamental pagan values of the story the difference between a good warrior and a good king over the course of the poem, beowulf matures from a valiant combatant into a wise leader.
In this interview, heaney discusses beowulf and his approach to translating this famous text listen to learn more about beowulf's lasting appeal, and what the old poem tells us about nordic pagan and early christian values. However wide the dichotomy of values may be, beowulf appears to have achieved the difficult balance between pride and humility for example, at the end of further celebration at heorot beowulf returns the sword hrunting which turns out to be useless in his battle with grendel's mother. Beowulf: pagan or christianthe present paper will discuss the issue of religion in the epic poem beowulfgiven the fact that at the moment beowulf was written there was a clash between pagan and christian beliefs in present-day england, the poem contains elements of both mentioned religions.
The source poems upon which the beowulf poet drew for some of his core material are of course pagan as they come from a society that christianity had not reached at the time of their composition the question of the christian nature of beowulf as a poem, or lack of it, is much more vexed. Christian and pagan ideals are the motivation for vengeance in grendel's mother's attack it is hard to ignore the christian and pagan elements of beowulf these elements, that have been so uniquely combined in the poem, define the heroic warrior, beowulf, and the evil menace, grendel's mother. - christianity vs paganism in the story of beowulf, there is a noticeable struggle between christianity and paganism, and the characters personal battle between the two throughout the story the characters display actions that lead towards paganism and christianity.
Pagan and christian elements in beowulf by lcmillar posted on 21 september, 2012 i found that a lot of the recurring themes and habits of the characters are in direct contradiction to the core values of christianity. Throughout beowulf the author uses many different techniques to sneak christian influences into a story throughout a pagan time period of glory, blessed them with a prince (12-17) this quote shows readers, even though readers already know that this is a time influenced by paganism, that the. This picture shows beowuf (good) fighting grendel (bad) although there are many examples of pagan beliefs in the poem beowulf, the poem points more toward a christian influence grendel is the representation of the pagan beliefs and the evil that is in the world beowulf is representation of good. Originally 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. Identify and describe evidence from beowulf and what it suggests about anglo saxon life, culture, and values -loyal to king and comitatus, pledging allegiance to king -brave war like people who fight for glory.
Pagan culture in beowulf the epic of beowulf is closely tied to paganism the 8th century germanic culture that serves as the setting of the epic was deeply rooted in germanic warrior culture that believed in polytheism, a hierarchical structure that placed the strongest warrior at the forefront. The same pagan concepts found in beowulf, however, can also be found in other works of the period, and these works also contain many elements of christianity overall, beowulf contains many pagan themes and concepts, but yet it also contains many references to christianity. With other christian stories from christian cultures for, example beowulf , the effect that christianity itself has on this poem is too evident to say completely that beowulf characteristic is pagan another one of anglo-saxon beliefs that is described in beowulf , is the characteristic of paganism.
The fact that christianity and paganism are so closely combined in the epic explains the reasons for beowulf's christian and pagan influences blending in among beowulf's triumphs against the three key creatures, we also see christian virtues being instilled upon the listeners. 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. Making it easier to understand and, in a way, makes christianity seem like a desirable belief system if it will gain one fame the monks who wrote down the oral tradition of beowulf intertwined christian and pagan beliefs, hoping it would make christianity more familiar to the anglo-saxons of that time.