Beowulf: a Pagan Epic Hero?

Topics: Beowulf, Christianity, Jesus Pages: 4 (1681 words) Published: April 2, 2007
Beowulf: A Pagan Epic Hero?

Throughout literature there have been countless parallels and references to the story of Christ as written in the Bible. Even in such unexpected places as in seemingly pagan poems of ancient Danes and Geats- an epic with dragons and monsters- one still finds similar biblical allusions. In just such an unexpected place, the epic Beowulf, it's title hero and his circumstance, become an allegory for the story of Christ. In this sense, Beowulf can be seen as a Christian story of salvation. The similarities between Beowulf and the story of Christ are striking. All one would need to see the many parallels between the two would be a simple sign or thought that this allegory does exist. After that simple hint of what to look for, the evidence in the text itself becomes proof enough that Beowulf is indeed a allegory for Christ. Firstly, the people, the Danes and Geats, in Beowulf live in a seemingly pagan setting but never once do they mention the Gods or even allude to any of the Nordic myths. Instead, every reference to a higher deity is described by the "Ruler, the Judge of Deeds, the Lord God, Protector of Heaven, and the Glorious King." (Beowulf, pg. 29) This distinctly Christian concept of monotheism should be the reader's first point of awareness on what type of story Beowulf actually represents. With this in mind, one might notice the biblical quality of the sword Beowulf discovered: "Hrothgar discoursed; he scrutinized the hilt, the ancient heirloom, upon which was inscribed the rise of primeval strife when the flood, the rushing deep, destroyed the brood of the giants. They suffered terribly; that was a race alien to the Everlasting Lord, The Ruler made them a last payment through the water's welling." (Beowulf, pg. 48-49) Just reading this passage, one can see the shape of the entire epic of Beowulf. Through the reference to the great flood of Noah in the Bible, the allusion to the Everlasting Lord and Ruler, slightly...
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