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Beowulf, Christianity, and Paganism

The poem Beowulf is a renowned story that displays many different surroundings and religious beliefs. Some may believe the story of Beowulf portrays pagan beliefs or customs and others believe that the poem is more in agreement with Christian ethnicity. The author of Beowulf uses both Christian and pagan elements in the poem to define the heroic warrior, Beowulf, and the evil dragons. After reading Beowulf the author clearly shows how Beowulf is a man who is filled with Christian customs and is willing to die and defend the world against evil using the help of God. Beowulf’s courage and faith can be seen throughout the entire poem.

The author shows what the other characters thought of Beowulf in lines 114-119, “None of the wise ones regretting his going, much As he was loved by the Geats: the omens were good, And they urged the adventure on”. Beowulf can be represented or resembled as a biblical hero such as David or Samson. Beowulf overcame many difficult problems that others would not even contemplate to take on. Beowulf the Geat took on Grendel and Grendel’s Mother. He also came to fellow warrior Hrothgar’s aid and even risked his own life for the sake of his warriors. The author makes evident what the evil is in the poem Beowulf.

The evil dragon’s in Beowulf would be Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, and the final dragon who took Beowulf’s life. The author introduces Grendel in the beginning of the Poem. Grendel is the monster who threatens Hrothgar’s kingdom. The author describes Grendel by writing in lines 17-24, “Grendel, who haunted the moors, the wild marshes, and made his home in a hell Not hell but earth, He was spawned in that slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain, murderous creatures banished By God, punished forever for the crime of Abel’s Death”. This quote clearly shows the reference back to the Bible.

It explains how the author uses Grendel as one of the offspring’s of Cain whom killed his brother Abel. Beowulf was the one warrior who was able to stop Grendel. Beowulf travels to Grendel’s lair in the marsh with some of his finest soldiers. When Beowulf and his men met Grendel the weapons of Beowulf’s army became dull from a spell. The weapons could not scratch the skin of Grendel. Beowulf used the faith from God to defeat Grendel without the use of weapons. Beowulf was able to hold onto Grendel’s arms until they were ripped off. Beowulf put his life at risk by using his courage and faith to overcome Grendel.

Another evil that Beowulf was able to concur using the help of God was Grendel’s Mother. Grendel’s Mother was furious about the death of her only son and came into Hrothgar’s kingdom. While in the kingdom she captured one of Hrothgar’s men and devoured him. Before Grendel’s mother flees she takes the arm of her son which is hanging in the hall as a trophy. Beowulf then takes his men along with Hrothgar’s to the cave in which Grendel’s mother lives. The author shows Beowulf’s courage in lines 607-611, “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles.

I am old, now, But I will fight again, seek fame still, If the dragon is hiding in his towers dares to face me. “. Beowulf came to the lake where Grendel’s Mother lived and went in armed with the gifts of friends. Beowulf was given the magical helm of Hrothgar, the sword of Unferth and the hammered chain mail. Using his courage and faith found in God as well as his armor he was able to withstand any attack from Grendel’s Mother. Beowulf was not able to hurt Grendel’s mother until he was brought to the battle hall. While in the battle hall Beowulf saw the magical sword on the wall and was able to kill Grendel’s mother with the sword.

Beowulf proceeds to take Grendel’s head as a trophy. Once again using the strength and faith from God Beowulf is able to defeat evil. Beowulf would need to turn to God for strength to defeat the final and greatest evil. A slave boy who ran away from his master fell upon a dungeon with riches guarded by a dragon. The slave boy returned to his master with a golden cup but had awakened the dragon in the process. Upon awakening the dragon destroyed many buildings and people. Beowulf and his fellow warrior Wiglaf, who would become the heir to the throne, went with their men to the dragon’s lair.

When Beowulf and his men begin to commence in combat with the dragon all the men except for Wiglaf fled in terror from the dragon.. The sword that Beowulf wielded broke in half after coming across the scales of the dragon. Following this event the dragon bites Beowulf’s neck with his venomous tusks. Wiglaf’s hand is then scorched by the fiery beast while Beowulf is struggling to equip another weapon. Beowulf then pulls a knife out of his belt and proceeds to stab the dragon fatally deep into his flank. After the beast falls Wiglaf brings the dying Beowulf the treasures from the dragon.

Beowulf then proceeds to thank God for the defeat and transfers the throne to Wiglaf by presenting him his collar and rings. This event is another example of how Beowulf shows that he is willing to die and defend the world against evil. Ultimately Beowulf lived in order to protect and liberate his people. He uses his faith in God and his people to overcome many epic battles. Beowulf learned that victory though his dependence and trust in his God. He was a very humble and strong hero who used his talents wisely to exterminate evil and restore peace.

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