Beowulf: Pagan or Christian?

Topics: Beowulf, God the Father, Germanic paganism Pages: 2 (885 words) Published: December 8, 2011
The classic epic tale Beowulf is a masterpiece that stands out in the literature of the past. Many characters in the poem struggle to define their religion at the time because Christianity was recently introduced in their Anglo-Saxon communities. Among them all, the main character Beowulf showed the most indecisiveness. In his words and actions, Beowulf embodies both Christian and Anglo-Saxon ideals; however, they reveal him to be more of a Christian than a pagan. Through the eyes of many reading this poem, they would have guessed Beowulf to be more of a pagan; but, there are many more examples of Christianity than paganism. The basis of Anglo-Saxon paganism narrows down to two main ideals: fame and fate. Many natives of non-Christian belief believe in fame as a way to earn their title in the world. This was shown in Beowulf’s attitude and speech only a few times. He showed some underlying beliefs in fame; such as, “I am old, now, / But I will fight again, seek fame still, / If the dragon hiding in his tower dares / To face me” (625-628), where Beowulf described wanting fame from every victory he accomplished. Although this occurred, Beowulf spoke of God more frequently than a force of fame. Another ideal Beowulf spoke about was the belief in fate. Fate was what Anglo-Saxons believed was the plan for their life, instead of believing in God’s plan for them. Beowulf does mention fate when he describes the reason why he fights enemies, “Fate saves / The living when they drive away death by themselves” (305-306 pkt). Both of these ideas refer to the background that Beowulf grew up in, a non-Christian environment. They do not, however, meet the degree of which Christianity occurs in this novel. Even with Beowulf’s pagan background, his actions of Christianity overtake his demeanor and attitude. The Christianity of Beowulf is first exhibited with his voyage to the Danes kingdom. He is called there because of the terrible monster that is stalking and killing the Danes’...
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