The Sword Hilt And Christianity In Beowulf

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The Sword Hilt and Christianity in Beowulf
Christianity was a major cultural influence during the time in which Beowulf was written. Although the characters within the text are not Christians, the writer is. A religious writer will certainly insert some elements of their beliefs into some texts they write. The writer may make these beliefs evident through characters or certain objects within their texts. In the context of Beowulf, the hilt of the sword is the object chosen. The hilt of the sword that Beowulf slays Grendel’s mother with symbolizes Christian influence in different ways. The appearance of the sword hilt, how Beowulf feels about the sword, and Hrothgar’s response to it all serve as symbols of Christian influence within the text. The appearance of the sword hilt exemplifies Christian influence. According to Richard Bodek, the hilt had “engraved a scene from the Hebrew Bible showing God’s destruction of the race of giants” (130). The scene depicts the introduction of war into the world and the punishment the giants received for it. Beowulf himself is in a battle against giants—Grendel and his mother. They are fearsome and have been terrorizing Heorot. Beowulf states that they “suffered a terrible severance from the Lord; /” (1691). One of the giants in the context of the text is Grendel — a descendant of Cain, according to Bodek (131). He has been separated from God and is only capable of his actions because of his hatred of mankind. The hilt of the sword not
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