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Classical Allusions In Beowulf

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Many people have had to read Beowulf as part of their high school literature curriculum, but why is this ancient epic still taught in this day and age? The epic, in itself, almost seems to be a historic reflection, not by means of its content but the way civilizations are portrayed. The facets that can be identified within Beowulf were prevalent in the Anglo-Saxon time period and can also, to a certain extent, be representatives of today’s society. Learning and recognizing these conventional and distinctive traits within the epic allows for a deeper understanding of previous lifestyles. While Beowulf demonstrates a variety of important characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon time period, classical allusions to religion, fame, and comitatus are the…show more content…
It is clear that religion played a huge role in the Anglo-Saxon culture through the way God is described to have intervened in the lives of men and influenced their fate. The epic states: “But God’s dread loom was woven with defeat for the monster, good fortune for the Geats; help against Grendel was with them, and through the might of a single man they would win.” (Beowulf 696-699). This depicts God as good-natured and would eventually assist those suffering by His ultimate control of fate. Hrothgar says, “Surely the Lord Almighty could stop his madness, smother his lust!” (Beowulf 478-480). The Anglo-Saxons, as a whole, depended on God for their well-being and protection. This dependency shows the significance God held within their everyday lives and how they had resorted to praying and religious rituals to attain peace. In addition, the epic mentions the relations of Grendel to Cain, the brother and murderer of Abel (Beowulf 104-108). This portrays a direct biblical reference within the story itself and provides background knowledge of their belief system. Religion is an extremely prominent characteristic of the epic, Beowulf, and provides insight to the religious beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon time
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