Elegies In Beowulf

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Later (although 400 bc is still pretty early), the characters were not always divine, but they were always the top of society. Because nobility was considered the next best thing to being a god (some even believed kings were directly appointed by God), many of the heroes were part of high social classes and had a high societal standing. One of these was Oedipus. He defeated the Sphinx and won the favor of the people, and in their eyes, the favor of the gods. During a plague, they pleaded with him to help them during the troubled time because “in their stories, the people testify/ how, with gods’ help, [he] gave [them] back [their] lives” (45). The people’s pleading shows their view of the favor of the gods and what it means to be a leader.…show more content…
Through Beowulf, some elegies including The Seafarer and The Wanderer, and in The Song of Roland we see the influence of Christian ideas on the culture. One of these main ways is through the Code of Chivalry knights swore to uphold. This included the concepts of “fearing God and his church, protecting the weak and defenseless, living by honor and for glory, obeying authority, guarding the honor of fellow knights, never refusing a challenge from an equal or turning a back upon a foe” and other instructions (Knights). Roland tried to follow all these perfectly. In him there was “no dismay,” “he struck at the heathen foes, [and did not] leave one of a score alive,” he “combateth nobly,” and when he could fight no longer, “unto God above,/ In sign of penance he raised his glove” (380, 383, 390). The incorporation of a christian code of conduct and the role it played showed the ancient pagan cultures and the newer religion merging into something new. The hero, Roland is in many ways like Oedipus. He attributes his success to God, like Oedipus, the only difference is that it’s the Christian God, not the Greek Pantheon. But these slow changes in the literature evolve into larger ones over
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