Beowulf Essay

Topics: Beowulf, Anglo-Saxons, Literature Pages: 3 (1207 words) Published: March 31, 2013
English 1001
Beowulf Essay
          The element of religious tension is common in Anglo-Saxon writings, but a pagan story with a Christian narrator is unusual. “Much of the poem’s narrative intervention reveals that the poet’s culture was different from that of his ancestors” and also that of his characters (Watson). There are many different perceptions to the reasons why the author wrote Beowulf. The best answer, in my opinion, was that the author was creating a magical and intriguing story that had an underlying theme to it. Christianity was a newly introduced religion to the western Europeans at the time and I believe that someone would have written about it, or at least the conflicts that came with it. This is just a background in which time period the story was told, even more evidence to this interpretation is buried in the actual text. Though still an old pagan story, Beowulf was told by a Christian poet. People believe the epic Beowulf is a story full of pagan tradition. However, Beowulf is really a Christian-based story, in which Christianity prevails. “Nature is accommodating; death and fate are controllable; man can reconcile with the world; and the main character, a hero and representative of good, triumphs over evil and does not fail in the end” (Perrello). The way the author incorporated many side notes, of what seemed to be other tales told at the time that may not have ever been saved like this one, was an amazing mystery for our present day historians to try and solve. The beginning of the story is where we find our first sign of Christianity, as the poem goes, “Afterward a boy-child was born to Shield, a cub in the yard, a comfort sent by God to that nation” (Beowulf 12-14). This child was a blessing for this tribe and was the uprising of their downfall and this is where we see that first conflict between the Heroic Code and Christianity. Complete polar opposites are the two, favoring blood- shed and vengeance, family, and...

Cited: “Beowulf”. The Norton Anthology: English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 8th
Ed. New York: Norton, 2006. 26-97. Print
Bloom, Harold. “Background to Beowulf”. Bloom’s Literary Reference Online. Chelsea
House Publishing, 2008. Web. 5 Feb. 2012.
Johnson, David and Elaine Treharne, eds. Readings in Medieval Texts: Interpreting Old
and Middle English Literature. NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Perrello, Tony. “Religion in Beowulf”. Bloom’s Literary Reference Online. McClinton-
Temple. 2011. Web. 5 Feb. 2012.
Watson, Robert. “Beowulf”. Bloom’s Literary Reference Online. The Facts on File
Conpanion to British Poetry, 2009. Web. 4 Feb. 2012
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