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Beowulf Pagan Or Christian Epic Research

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    Beowulf: Pagan Or Christian Epic Essay, Research Paper

    Beowulf: Pagan or Christian Epic?

    Although the narrative of Beowulf is filled with mentions to faith and religion, many

    disagreements occur throughout the narrative that suggest that Beowulf is non a Christian heroic poem. The

    character of Beowulf often speaks to God and evidently believes in His being.

    However, heathen patterns are mentioned in several topographic points. Beowulf frequently refers to another

    being instead than the Christian God. Pagan patterns of cremation and blood-drinking are

    included in the heroic poem. There are besides frequent allusions to the power of destiny, the motivation of

    blood retaliation, and congratulations of worldly glorification. All of these facets make Beowulf a heathen narrative

    with a few Christian elements.

    A cardinal heathen mention in Beowulf is the entity Wyrd. ? Now if Wyrd, Ruler of All, will

    license, my stout blade will sing its greedy war-song … .Wyrd ever weaves as it must? ( P.

    410 ) . The Christian tradition clearly states the being of merely one supreme entity. It besides

    provinces that anyone worshipping? false graven images? is capable to penalty. If Beowulf was genuinely a

    Christian, he would non name to Wyrd for any type of aid. One might reason that

    mentioning to Wyrd as? Ruler of All? suggests that this entity is the Christian God. But? God?

    is referred to throughout the heroic poem. ? For Grendel dullard God’s choler … Mighty God regulations persons

    everlastingly! ? ( p. 393 ) . These are two separate entities that serve different maps throughout

    the heroic poem. A true Christian narrative would non include any other? God? or almighty being instead

    than the one true God of the Christian instructions. The narrative besides mentions that Hrothgar and

    his people make forfeits to idols in an effort to get the better of the monster Grendel. ? And so it

    came to go through that the Dane-folk gathered in the pagan temples. And at that place, they offered

    forfeits to their graven images? ( p.388 ) . Alternatively of praying to the Christian God for support, they

    do forfeits to pagan graven images.

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    A 2nd heathen mention concerns the monster Grendel. Grendel is a ferocious and

    nauseating animal who roams the Moors and despises all people and their pleasances. He is

    the enemy of everything pure and true. The monster is known for his gustatory sensation for human flesh

    and for imbibing the blood of his victims. ? That atrocious monster drank down his [ Beowulf’s ]

    war-comrade’s blood and so devoured him piece by blood-smeared piece? ( p. 394 ) . In the

    Christian belief system, the imbibing of any type of blood of any sort is specifically out.

    ? Any Israelite or any foreign life among them who eats any blood – I will put my face against

    that individual who eats blood and will cut him off from his people? ( Leviticus 16:10-11a ) .

    Beowulf is more troubled by Grendel’s larger actions of devastation instead than the breakage

    of this Christian belief. Although it is the evil force instead than the good and pure hero that

    participates in the imbibing of blood, the inclusion of the pattern adds to the heathen

    undertones of the narrative.

    Third, Christian tradition holds that human organic structures are to be buried instead than

    cremated. Although there is no direct prohibition against cremation, the Bible speaks clearly about

    ? ashes to ashe

    s, dust to dust. ? Christian tradition provinces that God created adult male from soil and so

    the organic structure will return to the Earth. The Bible provinces: ? In the perspiration of thy face shalt thou eat

    staff of life, till thou return unto the land, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust 1000 art, and unto

    dust shalt 1000 return? ( Genesis 3:19 ) . Beowulf asks to be burned at a funeral pyre. ? Let my

    battle-famed war-comrades burn my organic structure upon exalted Whale? s-Cliff? ( p.413 ) . If Beowulf

    were genuinely a Christian, he would non wish to take part in this heathen burial pattern. After his

    cremation, Beowulf wants his ashes placed in a memorial tower as a reminder of his courage.

    This desire of personal glorification and the demand for acknowledgment leads into the following heathen mention

    that is discussed.

    A 4th heathen tone in the heroic poem is the strong sense of heroic pride and desire for

    personal addition that Beowulf shows. These feelings are in direct struggle with the Christian

    values of humbleness and generousness. Fame, glamor, and stuff wagess entice work forces clip after

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    clip in the narrative. The War-Geats? actions are based on their motivations for personal addition.

    Christianity places an accent on benevolence and generousness instead than plume and glorification.

    Although it externally appears that Beowulf battles to protect the lives of others, there is a

    more selfish ground that lies underneath. It is Beowulf’s avidity for stuff wagess and

    desire for earthly celebrity that leads him to protect others. This can be seen when Hrothgar Tells

    Beowulf that he will be rewarded extravagantly if he defeats Grendel’s female parent. ? Do this title for

    me, and I will honor you with a trove of gracious gifts – antique hoarded wealths and distorted gold?

    ( p. 398 ) . Hrothgar gives inducement by luring Beowulf’s selfishness. Beowulf accepts the

    offer, cognizing that he will claim a great luck if he wins. Greed is besides highlighted in the

    narrative of the slave who steals the treasure-cup from the firedrake. ? And so it came to go through that the

    slave offered his maestro the treasure-cup. The slave hoped the goblet would buy

    forgiveness and peace? ( p.408 ) . The larceny of the treasure-cup to buy forgiveness

    high spots the greed of a society that places such a high premium on material wealth. This

    accent on material objects is associated with the heathen universe where objects are like graven images

    that symbolize celebrity and wealth.

    In decision, the heroic narrative of Beowulf is a heathen narrative with a heathen hero. Although

    there are Christian images throughout the narrative, the narrative is clearly heathen in nature. The

    Beowulf poet portrays the civilization and people by dividing the chief thoughts like a prism does

    with light. Although there are the Christian mentions surface throughout the narrative, a expression at

    the heroic poem as a whole clearly shows its true heathen nature. No affair which terminal of the spectrum

    you are looking from, all the thoughts prove that heathen constructs and rules prevail over the

    values of Christianity. It is shown on countless occasions through the stuff wagess,

    earthly celebrity, false graven images, and burial patterns. In the terminal, the detached visible radiations in the prism

    come together and go one. This array of visible radiation in Beowulf is finally the strong

    presence of a heathen hero and a heathen civilization.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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