What Would Beowulf Do? How Beowulf Is a Christ-Like Figure

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The contemplative question of “What would Jesus do?” has become a popular pragmatism in society today. There is an unwritten rule or sense of morality by which a properly functioning civilization may live. However, what method did early Anglo-Saxons use to remind themselves of what would be the proper thing to do in a situation? Even though they were a violent and warmongering culture as a whole, geared toward waging and winning war, they did have a moral code to honor. Anglo-Saxons prized the values, which they would have been learned by rote since childhood, including: courage and selflessness, honor, discipline and duty, hospitality, self-reliance, and perseverance. These principles of character are some of the main mores clearly displayed in the epic poem, Beowulf, a tale of the adventures and struggles of a mighty Geatish (Swedish) warrior, Beowulf, against a sinister afflicter of men, a vicious revenge seeking mother, and a fire breathing twilight-spoiler. The author of one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature is unknown; however, it is believed that the heroic poem was finally translated by monks, which may account for the reason that according to the narrative, Beowulf is seen as an instrument of righteousness called by God to perform His will for the Danes, exactly as Christ was sent to carry out His will for the Jews. Beowulf further exemplifies Christ in many ways, such as his embarking on quests, his supernatural abilities, and his victory in the salvation of his people through his death. In Beowulf’s first quest, his objective is to deliver the Danes from the monster Grendel, a hulking beast of a bottomless lake who is immune to the man-made weapons which attempt to pierce his scaly skin as he effortlessly devours the Danish warriors one by one. Grendel is a physical manifestation of the evil which Christ ventured to save the Jews from, in his time. Alan Alda explained, “When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of...
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