Christianity vs. Pagan Beliefs in Beowulf

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Christianity vs. Pagan Beliefs in Beowulf

By | Jan. 2013
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Although there are many examples of Pagan beliefs in the poem Beowulf, the poem points more toward a Christian influence and meaning. Beowulf is seen as a God to the Geat people, and they turn to the Almighty to save them from evil. Grendel is portrayed as a “monster of Cain” and lives underground. He represents the darkness of the Pagan beliefs, as well as Hell. The battle between good and evil - between Christianity and Pagan beliefs – is continued throughout the poem.

Hrothgar and the Danes seem to be protected by the Almighty. Grendel would not go near Hrothgar’s throne because it was protected by God. When Hrothgar is talking to Beowulf before Beowulf goes to fight Grendel, he says, “Surely the Lord Almighty could stop his madness, smother his lust!” Beowulf also says that God will decide who dies. They believe in God and his power to control the outcome. Grendel was created after the Lord Almighty drove out all of the demons and the demons split into forms of evil, forever opposing the Lord’s Will. This would explain why Grendel was powered by the hatred of God. Whenever he terrorized Herot, some people turned to the Devil for help. They were heathens, and prayed to the old stone gods. Up until his battle with Beowulf, Grendel could kill his victims easily. However, Beowulf had the Lord on his side and was more powerful, easily killing Grendel. This proves that Christianity was more powerful than the Pagan beliefs.

Grendel and his mother represent Pagan beliefs in the poem Beowulf. The main example is that they live underground, and the lake above their home was described as a “fiery flame”. This is just like Hell. Grendel is referred to as a “shepherd of evil, guardian of crime” in the poem. For twelve years Herot stands deserted because of the fear Grendel put in people. He represents all things evil and malicious. Towards the end of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel, the poem stated that you could hear shrieks of the Almighty’s...

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