Religion in Beowulf

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  • Topic: Beowulf
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David (Kwang Min) Kim
Dr. Hadley
History 101 – Spring 2013
10 April 2013
Religion in Beowulf
Throughout the story of Beowulf, the concept of religion plays a significant role. The Christianity ideology views state that man can survive and do great things through the protection of God. A strong desire of pride is also represented in the form of a hero in Beowulf, which in a sense goes against Christian morals. This clash with Christian morals in Beowulf was in the context of pride vs. humility and selfishness vs. sacrifice. In the book, Hrothgar first explained to Beowulf that pride without humility will only kill him. Beowulf struggles to find his roots as a follower of God, as well as maintaining his views and actions of Paganism. Throughout the story, the author demonstrates the importance of religion through the representation of Beowulf and his actions with God, as well as his roles in both the Christian ideology and Paganism. In all of his fights encountered, Beowulf holds and maintains a strong belief in God’s protection, which acts as his invisible shield. Throughout his fights with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon he claims that if God wasn’t in his presence he would have been unsuccessful, perhaps even died. In the fight with Grendel’s mother, Beowulf ends up finding a weapon on the wall and he gives the credit of finding this weapon to none other than God. This demonstrates that Beowulf holds a part of the Christian ideology that all success that happens in life and all the wealth accumulated is the result of the belief in God. So this is why Beowulf doesn’t credit himself being lucky to find a sword to slay Grendel’s mother. Instead he thanks God. The key thing that made Beowulf have so much success was also due to the relationship between him and God. Although the different themes of Christianity are reoccurring in Beowulf, there are influences of the pagan ideology as well. Throughout the story, different elements of Christian...
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