Christian And Pagan Values In Beowulf

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Beowulf, an Old English epic poem written by an unknown author between the eighth or tenth century, has deeply rooted ties in Pagan values as well as Christian values. However, these two values certainly clash with one another. The combination of these two principles makes Beowulf such an extraordinary read which may partly be due to the fact that the time period in which it was written in was a time of religious transition. As the aforementioned, the story may have been written during the eighth or tenth century when Christianity was becoming increasingly more dominant among the Anglo-Saxons; yet, Pagan values still played an active role in their lives. As a result, Beowulf incorporates and repeatedly mentions Christian beliefs; the actions…show more content…
Upon hearing the plight of King Hrothgar, Beowulf sails overseas and boasts of his past accomplishments as he arrives. Fame, in paganism, is highly praised among its followers. Not only does Beowulf brag about his past accomplishments, he also boasts that he can defeat all his foes in future battles. For example, in the story Beowulf states, "I have heard moreover that the monster scorns in his reckless way to use weapons; therefore, to heighten Hygelac's fame and gladden his heart, I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of the broad shield... hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death fight with the fiend" (Beowulf 433-444). Beowulf not only attempts to exaggerate the king's pride, but his as well when he decides to fight Grendel barehanded. Remember that pride is a deadly sin. However, even as Beowulf defeats Grendel, he thoroughly expresses that it was through God's protection. Furthermore, the idea of loyalty and heroic actions emphasize the importance of Christian values in the story. Interestingly enough, Beowulf can be seen as a symbol of Christ when he defeats the monstrous Grendel who represented Satan. In fact, many of the conflicts within the story symbolize similar conflicts in the

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