Biblical allusions in Anglo-Saxon literature make up most of the story Beowulf. Which gives more meaning and background to the story allowing people to associate the bible with the story. The way the author relates the characters from the story to the characters from the bible but not directly, gives it a more sincere sensation. The author builds on allusion throughout the story when he introduces Grendel, describes Hrothgar’s men, and when he discusses the battles Beowulf fought in.
In the epic poem Beowulf, the protagonist, Beowulf, faces three “monsters” at different times in his life. The poem begins with Grendel, a monster who attacks only in the dark of night, tormenting the kingdom of Hrothgar. The last two sections of the epic detail the conquering by Beowulf of Grendel’s mother and the dragon. The battle between the monsters and Beowulf represent the theme of good versus evil in the poem, as well as the fusion of pagan and Christian ideals in the changing Germanic society. Grendel’s mother’s actions directly juxtapose the role of a woman in this time period, and the greediness of the dragon with his treasure contrasts with the virtues of what would be considered a good king.
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.
The epic poem Beowulf was a story told in the anglo saxon time period. A time when people believed in dragons, monsters, and curses. Many stories told by people of this time talked about the good and evil forces there are in the world and what happens when they collide in battle. The hero in this story has sailed from his home to fight this evil being named Grendel, a monster that has become a nuisance in Herot.
In the poem Beowulf, there is a contrast between good and evil. This distinction is presented through the monsters Grendel and his mother, in parallel to the hero Beowulf. The themes of evil and monstrosity are therefore used in the story, as a way to create the notion of Grendel and his mother as monsters. Beowulf therefore appears as a character representing good. Although Beowulf shows traits of abnormal power, like Grendel and his mother, his motifs are interpreted differently.
There have been epic stories about saints and fearless pioneers who bring down shrewdness and convey peace to the general population in which they reside, Beowulf follows this traditional concept. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most essential work of Old English writing. The epic recounts the account of a saint, a sovereign named Beowulf, who frees the Danes of the beast Grendel and recounts his brave demonstrations battling Grendel 's mom. All through the epic, the Anglo-Saxon story teller utilizes numerous components to construct profundity to the characters. Only a couple of the essential character components in Beowulf are Wealth and Honor, Biblical, and Man versus Wild topics.
The poem remarks a biblical reference as “Grendel … A kindred of Cain” first surfaces. Moreover, the poem often alludes to God as well as the worlds of Heaven and Hell further elucidating the Anglo Saxon views. Beowulf clearly demonstrates his acknowledgement of God countless times: In fact, Beowulf could well have been slayed by Grendel’s fiendish mother had “God not saved him [Beowulf].” The presence of religious influences are reinstated by the glut of glorifications and innuendos of Christianity and the concept of God within the Anglo Saxon society. Even the mighty King Hrothgar depicts these values showing his scarce concern for material objects “Sharing the gifts God had bestowed on him” signifying his compassion, a requisite for Christian
Beowulf is a perfect example of an epic hero. What is an epic hero, you may ask? An epic hero is one who is determined to show their strength, bravery, and honor by heroic and dangerous actions. In the epic, Beowulf, the main character himself shows many qualities that defines him as an epic hero. Beowulf’s many battles are examples of how he is an epic hero. On numerous accounts, Beowulf involved himself in many challenges such battling Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, and the Dragon to prove himself as a hero.
Christianity’s Role in Beowulf In Beowulf, the author implements Christianity throughout the novel to express their strong beliefs on Christianity. Therefore religion’s role in the novel is to attempt to convert readers, which is shown through the character’s actions, thus creating religious symbolism. This is shown in the novel in various ways: before anything is done, God is always put first; and where Grendel and his mother live symbolizes separation from God. When Beowulf goes and fights Grendel’s mother, and Beowulf himself dies saving the people of his land, are just a few symbols of Christianity in the novel.
The epic poem “Beowulf”, translated by Burton Raffel, focuses on a hero by the name of Beowulf who goes on a quest to rescue King Hrothgar and his people from an egregious monster by the name of Grendel. This Anglo-Saxon tale gives insight into the values and beliefs of the people from whom the story originated. Their war-centered ideology and views on loyalty and courage were the principles that the Anglo-Saxon culture was founded upon. While warfare was a focal point in their lifestyle, it was far from a savage, barbaric state of fighting. Honor and prestige were bestowed upon those who died during battle and selflessness for fellow warriors was a fundamental belief.
In the story of Beowulf, the hero, Beowulf, does not know about the issue until the call. In Beowulf the call is the acts of Grendel. Grendel is a descendant of the cursed son of Adam and Eve, Caine. In the bible, Caine kills his brother resulting in a curse brought upon by God. Due to this, Grendel lives a life of seclusion and rejection.
Being an epic hero, Beowulf was very brave and battled many immortal creatures. One monster he came across was Grendel. “Conceived by a pair of the monster born of Cain, murderous creatures banned by God..,”(44), Hrothgar’s men would say. This is a reference from the Bible, showing the evil portrayed in the monster Grendel. This monster went to Herot and killed thirty men just because he was hungry.
Christopher Cain, professor and expert in Old English and Medieval Scandinavian literature and culture, published an essay analyzing the relationship between Beowulf and the Old Testament, as well as the presence of paganism in this poem. In the essay, it is noted that “the general tone of the poem and its ethical viewpoint are decidedly Christian;” the poet relied heavily upon the Bible, as can be evidenced by “allusions to Cain, the Creation, and the Deluge,” which are all Old Testament allusions (Cain). The characters themselves also serve to represent Christian ideologies, though references to Germanic culture appear frequently. For instance, this is embodied in the scene where Beowulf is fighting to rid Heorot of Grendel, and “Beowulf recognizes it to be God's will that determines the outcome of the fight—” not his own strength (Cain).
By the time this monastic scribe began his work, the stories of Beowulf were already legendary tales of this era; legends that were passed down orally. The poet cautiously uses this information to compose an epic poem while also combining the notions of the pagan wyrd (fate) and dom (worth), along with the Christian ideals of refinement and final judgement. A pagan poem in its own right, steeped in ancient Germanic culture, yet it is baptized in lax Christian comments and passages. However, while the passages are referred to as Christian, there is never any reference within the poem, to Christ Himself. When we are first introduced to Grendel, we see the first signs of Christian passages appearing: God had condemned them as kin of Cain.