Sec. IV English
November 04th 2013
Beowulf as a Christ-like character
The ancient epic poem, Beowulf is the tale of a man, a hero, travelling to a foreign land, known as Heorot to save the doomed inhabitants from evil, once there he is faced with many tasks that only a great warrior can resolve. The story presents the main character as a strong individual in his mind, body and spirit. Throughout the poem, the title character, Beowulf, is depicted as a Christ-like figure, because of, his fight against evil, his loyal, apostle-like followers and the actions taken by Beowulf in order to protect his people.
Beowulf’s battles against evil are evident throughout the poem, his battle against Grendel, Grendel’s mother and finally the dragon. “Now I mean to be a match for Grendel, settle the outcome in a single combat” (Heaney, 29) Beowulf declares he will fight Grendel (evil), this is similar to Christ fight against evil every day, preaching out against those who do wrong. “[The people] once more look to Beowulf for safety from this new monster. Again the hero assures them that he will save them by subduing this new threat to their peace and happiness” (McNamee, 195). This is similar to that of Christ, that after the dies on the cross, he relieves His people from all the sins of the world and once again brings peace and happiness to His people.
Christ had great followers that believed in what he preached and would do anything to protect him. When Jesus was being captured by the Romans Peter, one of the twelve apostles fought valiantly to assure that his Lord was safe. Beowulf was very well respected by his followers and just like Peter, would have done anything to protect him. “Time and again, Beowulf’s warriors worked to defend their lord’s life.” (Heaney, 53). It is obvious that Beowulf’s loyalty to his people is mirrored by the loyalty they have for him. “Beowulf’s warriors are comparable to Christ’s apostles because of their
Cited: Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 2000. Print. McNamee, M. B. ""Beowulf": An Allegory of Salvation?" The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 59.2 (1960): 190-207. JSTOR. Web. 2 Nov. 2013. Stevens, Kristen. "Beowulf or Christ?" University of Idaho English Review (1998).Web. 2 Nov. 2013. Whallon, William. "The Christianity of "Beowulf"" Modern Philosophy 60.2 (1962): 81-94.JSTOR. Web. 2 Nov. 2013.