“Beowulf” is a link between two traditions, Pagan and the Christian. The virtues of courage in war and the acceptance of feuds between men and countries as a fact of life stem from the older Pagan tradition. On the other hand Christianity’s moralities are based meekness and poverty. “Beowulf” brings this two convictions together through the actions of the characters. Even though Beowulf possesses spiritual strength, he isn’t particularly concerned with the Christian virtues.
He wants to help people, in a Christian way, but his motivation for doing so is complicated. Beowulf has a eagerness or material rewards and earthly fame which is a characteristic of Paganism. Beowulf had the heart of the Christian to help people but wants the selfish rewards of Paganism. Shild’s funeral is another example of Paganism, it takes place at the end of the prologue. The people that were under his reign put him on the deck of a ship and surrounded him with jewels, gold, helmets, swords, etc.
The importance of material goods are one of the cardinal characteristics of the Pagan’s beliefs. Hrothgar and his counselors make useless attempts to appease Grendel in Verse 2. They can’t offer him gold or land, as they might an ordinary enemy. Like most people in a time of crisis they slip back into old ways of thinking. Instead of praying to God for support, they sacrifice to t he stone idols of their pagan past.
The Christian motifs that run through the poem contrast with the pagan system of values that underlies the actions of the kings and the warriors. The influence of Christianity was just beginning to make its mark in this world, and most of the characters are torn between their newly discovered religious feelings and their old, heathen way of perceiving things. The idea that there’s a higher being that controls one’s actions revolutionized people’s concepts of hemselves, and infused their day-to-day lives with a sense of wonder.
Beowulf” is a epic poem that combines the contrasting beliefs of the traditional Paganism and the modern assessment of Christianity. The majority of the characters in “Beowulf” are Pagans which is based of the belief of many gods (polytheism). As shown in the prologue. Many characters were petrified of the newly uprising of the monotheism (belief in one god) which was present in Christianity. Due to this fear Christianity was not highly thought of in the poem even though the poem was hand written by the monks of the Christian religion.