Beowulf: Pagan or Christian Hero?

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"Beowulf" is an exhilarating epic poem about a hero with superhuman strength who has overcome many creatures, creatures who were thought to be invincible. The battle between good and evil is constantly illustrated throughout the poem. Good overcomes evil and Beowulf is still portrayed today as both a pagan and Christian hero.

First, Beowulf is portrayed as a pagan hero. Beowulf is known to have superhuman strength and he is "greater and stronger than anyone in the world" (110-111). He is illustrated in a way in which destruction shall never knock at his door. Thus, setting the stage for Grendel's annihilation. His strength is categorized as a pagan element because with this strength, he does not need anyone else to help him, not even God. Without God, "the fabled warrior in his warshirt and helmet trusted in his own strength" (689-691). Christianity is all about relying on God and trusting in His leading hand, but Beowulf entirely relies on his own strength rather than God's.

On the contrary, Beowulf is also portrayed as a Christian hero. There are many elements of Christian heroism in this poem. One such instance is when Beowulf concurs "'God must decide who will be given to death's cold grip'" (174-175). He knows that God has already created an ending to this battle with Grendel, and he is lavished with peace. This shows his Christ-like character of being willing to die if that is God's will. He is full of faith that God has a purpose for whichever outcome. Also, he is fair in his battle with Grendel. Grendel "'needs no weapons and fears none. Nor will I'" (168-169), Beowulf bravely states. He wants to be fair even though disarming himself will make him more susceptible to death. He shows true Christian character, bravery, and faith in the manner in which he fights his battles.

In conclusion, Beowulf is portrayed as both a pagan and Christian hero. The superhuman strength endowed upon Beowulf plays an important role in his victories...
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