October 10, 2013
Religious Aspects in Beowulf
Numerous references of Christianity can be found within Beowulf. Christian beliefs clash with pagan traditions and legends to form a unique style of writing that existed during the time period. God is mentioned frequently with a variety of different labels. Characters also remark upon biblical stories, giving the epic poem a relevant Christian vibe to it. But as much as Christianity is publicized to the reader, pagan rituals are sensed equally as much. While contradicting religious practices are both present in a poem that was most likely written down by a Christian monk, many wonder why the content never changed throughout the centuries. These aspects all create a peculiar quality to the story as it progresses. The conflicting religious aspects affiliation greatly affects the personalities of the characters in Beowulf.
Christian references throughout Beowulf are used in a story originating from a pagan culture. These connections to Christianity only exist because of the monks who originally transcribed the poem onto paper. The most prominent apostolic implication is simply the many references to God. God is tagged with various titles such as “Eternal Lord”, “The Almighty Judge”, and “Head of the Heavens” and sometimes as blatant as "God", “The Almighty”, and “Creator”. Biblical practices and references are also found throughout the writing of the poem. The story of Cain and Abel is the most relevant. It is tied in with the very history of Grendel. Grendel and his mother are the descendants of Cain, making Grendel a part of a larger religious scheme of evil and murder. Another major biblical affiliation is that of Beowulf and Wiglaf. Wiglaf was the only man who fought with Beowulf that did not flee. This connects with the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, who was the only apostle not to hide and face Jesus. These biblical connections are mixed with the pagan customs that were...
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