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Beowulf Pagan Analysis

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In the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, there is plenty of controversy over whether or not the poem was considered Christian or Pagan. It is understandable that there may be both themes seen throughout this particular work. Beowulf is referred to as a very outstanding piece of British literature during the eighteenth century. Although re-written in the eleventh century, Anglo-Saxon themes represented the ideals of Christianity in a more virtuous, and outright manner. Whereas, in Beowulf, the author makes use of many purposeful situations that lead readers to consider the intentions and major themes that they considered rare at the time. I will discuss how both of these ideologies are seen within this poem, and how Beowulf is a pagan story with undeniable…show more content…
The character begins insinuating pagan ideals, such as seeking pride and glory for himself and not directly for God, which dictates Beowulf’s decisions throughout the poem. At the beginning of this work, Beowulf hears of Grendel, a monster, and seeks to defeat him. His pride is seeping through his teeth when he mentions, that when it comes to fighting he is “as dangerous any day as Grendel.” (ln. 678). It becomes known that Beowulf intends on defeating Grendel alone. Others become greatly concerned with the pride that Beowulf holds and fear that it will soon catch up to him. Beowulf’s fight with Grendel, in Herot, is where Beowulf’s battle prowess is first exhibited. The battle with the monster results in the heightened effects of Beowulf’s pride and his vision of himself as a warrior. After killing Grendel, Beowulf’s men describe him as “the mighty protector of men” and “Edgetho’s brave son.” Since Beowulf defeated a monster that no other man could kill, Beowulf is immediately heralded as a hero. Beowulf’s pride and respect both drastically increase after his fight with Grendel. Hrothgar is the first to inform Beowulf of his terrible flaw that could potentially leave him in danger. When Beowulf is warned of his prideful nature by Hrothgar, he mentions Beowulf’s strength and how it is “in bloom” but reminds him “it fades quickly” Hrothgar pleads to Beowulf, “Do not take pride.” (1760-62). Beowulf must take into account how fleeting his pride…show more content…
He is willing to sacrifice his life in order to reciprocate the gift that has been given to him by his lord. When he sees Beowulf struggle with the dragon he pleas to the other warriors to help, but they flea and Wiglaf is the only one left, “I shall stand by you.” (2668). This relationship is wildly reminiscent of that of David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel within the old testament. Moreover, in 1 Samuel, the friends know they are not supposed to be seen together, due to king Sauls damnation of David, they meet in secret in a field and make a coventant,“Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”.” (19:4). Jonathan loved David as he loved himself and a comparison can be made in this relationship of Beowulf and Wiglaf. It is made clear to Beowulf that Wiglaf is a true and loyal warrior when he comes to help slay the Dragon. When Wiglaf sees his lord hurt he showed “inward bravery and strength” the types of qualities Beowulf often saw within himself, yet now he is seeing it within someone else (2696). There is a transformation within the pride of Beowulf when he sees Wiglaf take down the Dragon; from not having his “Advantage” with a weapon, to defeating the foe being, “partners in nobility” (2707). This transformation is realized by Beowulf when he sees that poison lies within his wound. Wiglaf tending to his lord’s gashes, is seen in that moment,
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