Christianity V. Paganism in Beowulf Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1012 Words
Date:  2022-04-15

As a masterpiece, Beowulf, outstanding heroism concerning Christianity and Paganism revolves around all bits of ideas, themes, and concepts. Characters tend to display actions that portray aspects of paganism while others portray Christianity. In spite of the fact that Beowulf describes paganism, the masterpiece manages to portray Beowulf as an epitome of beneficent and reasonable to all humankind. The people describe their faith and immense love in God, but the horrific events and paranoia compelled the people to drown in aspects of paganism. According to the flow of the masterpiece, some aspects assert that there is a significant influence that runs throughout the epic of the poem (Christie 533). The virtues of modesty and poverty are in line with the Christian life while the virtues of courage in vengeance, war and acceptance of feuds that erupts between nations, men and vengeful women embrace the pagan tradition. Consequently, Beowulf tends to bring both the pagan and Christian heroism to light. For that matter, Beowulf is not only concerned with bringing the elements of Christianity to light but also concerned with maintaining fame and power thus embracing paganism. This exposition seeks to make an insight into the aspects of Christian, heroism, pagan heroism and how they are intertwined in the novel, Beowulf.

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As a Christian hero, Beowulf poem stresses on the values, principles, and virtues which are extremely regarded as vital through the universal knowledge that God is the protector of all. Beowulf gives all the insight about God after defeating Grendel's mother in a battle that she targeted to avenge the death of her son. Beowulf quoted that "if God had not intervened, then the repercussions of the war would have been fatal and quick" (Heaney 1657). The statement shows that Beowulf was so true to his values that make him a Christian hero thus he was granted the mighty hand of God during the battle with all his allies. Additionally, the other aspect that shows that Beowulf is a Christian hero is that he gives all the credit to God for making him maneuver through all the fights and battles that were ahead of him and which could fatally destroy him quickly if he had not involved God. Beowulf added that "the God of men allowed me to behold the befriended by the use of an ancient sword shining on the wall" (Heaney 1663). In spite of the fact that Beowulf tries to shower God with praises of how he was able never to see the sword, it can be seen that he tries to please the people by using the sentiments that are in the manner seeking please people who are faithful to the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.

On the other hand, Beowulf portrays pagan elements. The elements are, for instance, greed, pride, revenge, war and some aspects of fate. In most cases, paganism are aspects that tend to be the opposite of Christianism. Consequently, any instances of war, revenge, hatred, revenge, and greed do not allude to the way of life of a typical or ordinary Christian. In spite of the fact that the novel is enmeshed in rewards and treasures, there are various aspects of greed that ends up consuming the rewards and riches. For instance, King Hrothgar's quotes to Beowulf just after the Grendel defeat showed high-level greed. The quotes outlined that "I have often honored the little and small achievements that recognized warriors as not nearly worthy lavished rewards on aspects that are less deserving" (Christie 531). For that matter, it is clear that Beowulf did not kill Grendel to help his people and with the proper faith but was aiming at receiving parks of gifts and rewards from Hrothgar.

Revenge is the other most significant pagan activity that is displayed in the novel. According to Christie (527), it was outlined that, "now the weapon was to prove its worth which is to take revenge for all the unbecoming acts that Grendel had committed." Beowulf's quest for revenge against Grendel and killing of Grendel's mother who plotted to revenge displays a high level of bloodshed which is an act against the morals of Christianity but more of a pagan act (Christie 519). On the other hand, Beowulf shows pride which is paganism when he says that "when it comes to fighting, I count myself as dangerous as any day as Grendel" (Christie 521). The pride displayed by Beowulf shows extreme pagan heroism in spite of the fact that at the end he claims that God was behind his efforts and achievements.

Another aspect of pagan heroism is displayed to be the aspect of fate and men dying in was as resolved fate. The element happened when Beowulf wanted to start a fight with the dragon. He openly asserted that "what is going to take place between the two of us will be our fate" (Hadley 2226). Since according to Christianity, there is free will in their beliefs, the belief that Beowulf outlines show that there is no horror to die in a battle since he communicated about an aspect of fate.


In summation, this exposition has pointed out the aspects of Christian heroism, pagan heroism and how they are intertwined in the novel, Beowulf. For instance, the elements of paganism in Beowulf's novel is more of a pagan hero masterpiece since most of the features pointed out are directly connected to paganism. According to the symbols outlined in the poem like the dragon, poison, monsters, and ravens make the characters to be seen as pagans than as Christians. The burial of Beowulf with the idolization tower goes against the Christian religion. Also, the idea fate ruled all the aspects of Christianity since it seemed that Beowulf's destiny was in line with being a pagan.

Works Cited

Christie, E. J. ""An Unfollowable World": Beowulf, English Poetry, and the Phenomenalism of Language." Literature Compass 10.7 (2013): 519-534.

Hadley, Sean. "Beowulf's Monsters: Comparing the Mythology of Grendel, Cain, & Satan."

Heaney, Seamus, and Daniel Donoghue. Beowulf: a verse translation: authoritative text, contexts, criticism. Norton, 2002.

Winkler, Bc Martin. "Understanding Beowulf as a Didactic Material and Defence of Pagan Pre-Christian Past."

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