Theme Of Christianity In Beowulf

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Theocracy has never been the best choice of government for any country. In the case of Europe from approximately 500AD to 1500AD, the government was theocratic, but it certainly was not Christianity, rather a poor imitation of the real thing, warped and twisted beyond recognition. As these three texts show, the doctrine is always changing, but what never changes is who has (or does not have) access to it.
Beowulf presents a unique view of Christianity that does not last long. To these northern regions, Christianity is relatively new, and it has a long way to go before it will overshadow hundreds of years of pagan myths and legends. The tendency of all people is to reconcile the new belief to their old one, thereby keeping the validity of both.
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The code of chivalry contains qualities specific to Christianity, and are displayed by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in their game. Sir Gawain shows loyalty, and is “careful to be courteous and avoid uncouthness.” The Green Knight shows grace towards Sir Gawain who did not keep his promise and withheld the green girdle. This is the the sole story of the three that portrays grace as an empowering quality of a hero. By this point in Britannic history, Christianity has been around long enough that stories were no longer ‘stolen’ from pagan history, and unlike Beowulf, Sir Gawain’s characteristics are Christ-like. That being said, no society is perfect, and the magical abilities of the Green Knight show the last vestiges of pagan epics clinging on to the new “Christianized”…show more content…
Europe is at the height of its continental theocracy, and legalism has the church in its clutches. Christianity has been around long enough that the potential monetary gain in it has not gone unnoticed by some in the clergy. Corruption has spread through the church, lowering the reputation of its members to many such as Chaucer. He describes the pardoner as trying to “win silver from the crowd,” whereas the lowly plowman did “as the gospel bade him,” for he loved “God best with all his heart and mind.” And while there certainly were still clergy who followed the will of God, it was not uncommon to find those who for “just a quart of wine,” would allow “any good lad to keep a
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