Religion in Beowulf

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Jeff Paletta
Mr. Manwell
English 3
Period 3
A.M.D.G

Soldier of God
Warriors are considered among the bravest of men. In the Anglo-Saxon community, the warriors were of the most respected class, and made up the foundation for their way of living. Anglo-Saxon warriors would not stop fighting until either they were victorious or they were dead. Written during this Anglo-Saxon period, the epic Beowulf contains many pagan ideals, in addition to several references to Christian philosophy. Beowulf is a tale of dual ordeals; an external fight against treacherous enemies, and an internal struggle with human tendencies of pride, greed, cowardice, and betrayal. The story intertwines them with both pagan and Christian beliefs.

The pride of Beowulf was a personal characteristic that was not commonly shared with others during his time of living. This pride caused Beowulf to feel the need to assume the position of leader of his community; it was his duty to keep order among his community and protect them from evil. This includes the evil of Grendel, and therefore it was Beowulf's duty to slay the monster. This relationship between Beowulf and his community resembles the relationship that Beowulf has with God. Without him, his community was sure to eventually be murdered and eaten by Grendel. Beowulf, however, protects them and keeps them out of harm's way. Similarly, God serves as protection for Beowulf. Throughout the epic, God is referred to as “the protector” for this very reason. This idea is exemplified with the battle against Grendel's Mother. Beowulf states that “The fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me.” (Beowulf 1026) Beowulf proves this further when he states “most often He has guided the man without friends,” (Beowulf 977) in which he gives the reader a hint that there is some form of mystical power that is providing him protection. This ideal of God's protection is one of the main elements of Christian philosophy...
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