The Beliefs In Beowulf

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An Analysis of the Beliefs in Beowulf The epic poem “Beowulf” is the courageous story of a man with incredible strength and wisdom. Throughout the poem, Beowulf is faced with various obstacles, most of which are life threatening. He continuously puts his life on the line for others, even those who are not a part of his tribe. As the poem progresses, Beowulf’s actions and ideals continuously demonstrate more and more Christian values--shifting from the Pagan values that were considered ideal at the time. They blend together in order to present a set of values that include faith, bravery, loyalty, and living for others. Through ambiguity, major plot points, diction, and paradox, the author presents Beowulf’s journey in order to present the…show more content…
This becomes evident during many large events throughout the poem, as the author presents the shift through not only ambiguity, but major plot points as well. For instance, Beowulf’s author continuously credits God when a critical event occurs. This happens even from the beginning of the story, when he states that the “...Lord of all life...blessed them with a prince” (16-17). Heritage is an essential part of Beowulf--their lords meant everything to the people. In the line aforementioned, God is already credited in just the beginning of a poem that often praises him and references Christian principles. In fact, even the monster Grendel originated from a Biblical story. The Beowulf author states that Grendel was “Conceived by a pair of those monsters born / Of Cain, murderous creatures banished / By God” (105-107). Cain and Abel, the story Beowulf refers to, is one in which a man killed his brother. In such a way, the birth of a monster Beowulf later defeats is tied in with Christianity. Grendel’s story is the beginning of many battles in Beowulf--he is a major plot point as he is the beginning of Beowulf’s journey to both kingdom and death. After Beowulf defeats Grendel’s Mother and finds an ancient sword, they found a story on the relic telling the story of “The Flood sweeping giants away” (1960). The mentioning of a great “flood” relates back…show more content…
Beowulf does fight to help others, however, many times throughout the poem, his attention is on the fame and the wealth. Such values lined up with Pagan beliefs; Pagans do not believe in heaven, hell, or God. In the same speech, Beowulf states, “For...these jewels, I thank / Our Father in Heaven, Ruler of the Earth” (2795) and “I sold my life / For this treasure” (2798-2799). Beowulf credits God for the gifts he has won in killing the dragon. In fighting the dragon, he has caused himself death and his dying wish is to see treasure. When Beowulf mentions both “God” and “treasure” it seems odd because wealth and power stemmed from Pagan ways, yet the warrior dies thanking God. As previously stated, when describing the earth the Beowulf poet states that God set “the sun and the moon / to glow across the land and light it” (95). He uses a combination of Christian and Pagan imagery, again, in a paradoxical way as well as in an ambiguous way. The two are supposed to contradict one another since they are two separate beliefs, but the author attempts to blend them. Paradox plays a huge role in conveying the change from Paganism to Christianity in Anglo-Saxon

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