Pagan Riturals vs. Christianity in Old English Literature Essay Example

Good Essays
Pagan Rituals vs. Christianity in Old English Literature

In early English literature, writers began to incorporate both pagan ideas along with Christian beliefs. In pagan culture people believed and found comfort in warriors as heroes, battles with blood and gore, and revenge for wrong doings. Christian qualities included loyalty, sympathy, and sacrifice for the good of others. In the following paragraphs I will describe how the two concepts merged to create some of history’s most admired literary works. Caedmon’s Hymn and Dream of the Rood is if full of Christian influences. In order for Anglo-Saxons to receive the ideas of Christianity, the authors described Christ as a Weard (Guardian), warrior, or a hero. Bede told a story of Caedmon who ran in shame because he couldn’t sing at feast and later in his sleep was visited by an angel who told him to sing about the Creation. Caedmon later devoted his life to the monastery writing songs about Christian life. In Dream of the Rood, rood meaning cross, the speaker dreams of the cross Jesus was sacrificed on. “Then the young Hero stripped himself-that was God Almighty-strong and stouthearted”, here again the writer describes Christ as a warrior preparing for battle as he is marching to his crucifixion. The epic poem Beowulf embodied both Pagan heroic ideas and Christianity’s self-sacrificing merits. Beowulf is described as a warrior who is going out to battle Grendel to avenge the wrongdoings caused upon the Danes. Beowulf believed he was called by God to protect the Danes. Characters from Beowulf take on certain Biblical roles, for example Grendel and his mother, decedents of Cain, are monsters of pure evil living at the bottom of a fiery lake or Hell. Also Beowulf and Grendel could be compared to David and Goliath in that a man sent from God to help a community being tormented by a giant with the conclusion of the warrior defeating the giant and becoming a hero. There are numerous

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Although there are many examples of Pagan beliefs in the poem Beowulf, the poem points more toward a Christian influence and meaning. Beowulf is seen as a God to the Geat people, and they turn to the Almighty to save them from evil. Grendel is portrayed as a “monster of Cain” and lives underground. He represents the darkness of the Pagan beliefs, as well as Hell. The battle between good and evil - between Christianity and Pagan beliefs – is continued throughout the poem. Hrothgar and the Danes…

    • 684 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Pagan Influences on Christianity Jason McMullen July 29, 2007 Axia College of University of Phoenix COM 125 Chris Shevereve Christianity is the largest religion in the world. With all the different types bundled into one it is possible that there are over one billion followers. Since its ' beginning around two thousand years ago Christianity has underwent some major changes. In fact many of the first century followers of Jesus Christ would not even recognize what we practice and…

    • 3615 Words
    • 15 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Pagan ritual versus Catholic and Christian beliefs Do Catholic and Christian beliefs and holidays have Pagan roots? Pope Gregory 1st said, "Converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional Pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the one true God instead of to their Pagan devils."(Pagan timeline Google para6) Three of eight major Pagan holidays were converted to Christian and Catholic holidays when Christianity…

    • 1572 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Pagans believe that the wandering spirits of the dead would return to their original homes in order to placate these spirits it was believed that you must feed them and provide them with shelter for the night otherwise you are in danger of harm hence the modern practice of Trick or Treat, bobbing for apples the hollowing out and lighting of pumpkins, cats, ghosts, goblins, death and a preoccupation with satanic paraphernalia on October 31st as filtered down from the ancient Scottish, Irish and Celtic…

    • 305 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Pagan Vs Christian Essay

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Pagan vs. Christian The holy Catholic Religion had a drastic Christian like impact on the barbarian, Viking Pagans of the Anglo-Saxon Age in England (Elements of Literature 11). The Catholics evolved the aggressive Pagan Vikings into a peaceful society (Williams). Also, the Catholics substituted their warlike religion and after-life to a more holy and Christian like religion (Chaney 197-217). Along with the altering of the Pagan society and religion, the Catholics also transformed the Pagans…

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Emerging during the classical period, Buddhism and Christianity are both similar and different in many ways. Christianity and Buddhism each arose where important religious developments had already occurred. After the classical period they both experienced great success, and they offered hope for religious advancements. Each religion sought to disperse with what their leaders viewed as excessive ceremonies and religious officialdom in favor of spiritual focus, with a belief in the afterlife. Both…

    • 339 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    english literature

    • 2062 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Britain. +/- 800 BC - 55 BC Celts (5th century BC) 2. Roman Britain. 55 BC – 400 AD 3. The Old English or Anglo-Saxon Period 500 – 1066 Soon after the romans left, Britain was attacked by Germanic tribes, mainly Angles and Saxons. Anglo-Saxon settlements (410 AD – 800 AD) The Vikings (The Danes) (800 AD – 978 AD) Downfall of Saxon England (978 AD – 1066 AD) 4. The Middle English Period 1066 – 1500 5. The Renaissance 1500 – 1600 The Early Tudor Period (1485 – 1550) The Flowering…

    • 2062 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Essay on English literature

    • 3283 Words
    • 10 Pages

    on yon withered bough? Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain; Thy music once was sweet - who hears it now? Although the above post gives some interesting suggestions about labeling meter, there are other focuses for annotating a poem. For example, you can annotate for figurative language and the meaning it grants the poem. The title “The Harp of India” seems to suggest a metaphor, and the background of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio is pro-Indian independence from Great Britain. Knowing that…

    • 3283 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Christianity and Buddhism are two very different religions. It's not surprising how they diffused and spread from one place, class, or person took different turns. Christianity began covertly, with secret cults and meetings; while Buddhism, from the beginning, agreed with the native religion, allowing it to be accepted in society and spread through monasteries and schools. However, they both did become incredibly popular and proliferate. There are multiple arguments that can be taken on to explain…

    • 761 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Essay English literature

    • 311 Words
    • 2 Pages

    English Literature Students should study English Literature because literature is part of our cultural heritage, literary works can be entertaining, beautiful, funny, or tragic. They can convey profundity of thought, for instance like 《Macbeth》shows that the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints. Each literature has a themes that the author wants to show. Also students learn a lot of history and culture from the English literature. It takes them to new places…

    • 311 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays