This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Beowulf Essay

2362 words - 10 pages

Niki FellowsEnglish 3300Beowulf: A Christian Commentary on Pagan SocietyBeowulf is one of the greatest poems that exhibit the characteristics of conversion in a pagan society. There are beginnings of change, evident in the poem, from a pagan history to an acceptance of a new Christian meaning. This history of a pagan hero was infused with Christian symbols and morals to help smooth the conversion for pagans. When studying Beowulf, it is important to uncover the meanings and symbols of what Grendel and his mother represent in a Christian society with reference to the pagan society, as well as, look at the final fight between the dragon and Beowulf and Beowulf's pride. History is a major part ...view middle of the document...

Being that the poem's setting is a wergild society, Beowulf must kill Grendel and his mother in order to restore the community from evil and to pay Hrothgar for his kindness to Beowulf's father. Beowulf's victory of Grendel's mother was very significant to the Christian reader because it was a place of evil and it gave her an advantage; it was her cave in which they fought. Because he went to a cave that was associated with dark magic and hell, it is implied that Beowulf's ability was aided with the intervention of God to overcome evil. It's apparent there are no miracles in Beowulf; but it can be argued there is an ideal of a predetermined fate nudged by God, which explains the victory of good over evil. It was never clearly mentioned by the poet who it was that aided the defeat but the reader can only assume it was both: a divine power and man's ability. The magic sword that killed Grendel's mother was used for good, it killed evil, alluding to God's intervention.Because Grendel and his mother came from darkness, wherever they went embodied darkness. For example, in lines 725-752 the climactic fight between Beowulf and Grendel is seen through the eyes of the Danes and they marvel to the fact Heorot is still standing. The fight scene is described in gory detail that leads the reader to imagine a hall of broken columns, torn tapestries, and disheveled dishes. The fact the Danes were surprised it was still standing also aid this perception of chaos. The cave of Grendel and his mother is described as very unnatural (just as they are inhuman). "At night there something uncanny happens: the water burns." Water is the sign of purity in Christianity and could also be a foreshadowing of Grendel's nightly ritual of death. After Grendel and his mother are defeated, the hall becomes symbolic of the Christian world and Hrothgar's rule. The majesty of Heorot is that when Grendel torments the mead hall it reflects the fear of the court and community, when Grendel and his mother are defeated it becomes vibrant again. In comparison to Grendel's cave, the hall is able to be rebuilt into a great hall of joy and song and celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The banquet at Heorot celebrates Grendel's defeat and restores order to the Danish people; they no longer have to live in fear of evil. It represents a wholeness that had been lost and they attempt to return to the normalcy of pre-Grendel. The cave of Grendel is foreign to the Christian world because it is dark and isolated. The cave is the symbol of a place for social outcasts, barbaric living, and represents the heritage of Grendel and his mother.Because Grendel is the descendant of Cain, he is the representation of the evil of pagan society because of their war-like beliefs. He is the embodiment of cyclical warfare in pagan society. He has taken revenge against by Hrothgar killing his thanes. Warfare was a necessity in pagan society. Death and murder was repaid by death and murder and was in a constant...

Other Essays Like Beowulf

Heroism in Beowulf Essay

552 words - 3 pages A hero is one who is not only strong, but one who uses his strength to uphold others. A hero is humble, philanthropic, magnanimous and selfless, a humanitarian at best. In the unprecedented epic Beowulf, the tale’s namesake exemplifies every characteristic befitting an Anglo-Saxon hero. He is honest, loyal, and courageous. He portrays these characteristics in the battle against Grendel, the affray with Grendel’s mother, and the fight against

Beowulf Explained in Context Essay

1224 words - 5 pages flames grew weaker.' An explanation of the epic poem: Beowulf 1 ”The man whose name was known for courage, the Get leader, resolute in his helmet, answered in return: “We are retainers from Hygelac’s band. Beowulf is my name…” After 340 lines Beowulf announces his name for the first time and introduces himself officially to king Hrothgar. From this moment on the story of Beowulf and his marvellous adventures commences. The poem of Beowulf

Beowulf and Community

1299 words - 6 pages be imperfect”, says Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Someone who feels as if they belong does not need to prove their identity, as they already have a support system. It is also common to have a physical structure in which to congregate, a place to celebrate successes and mourn losses.  The story of Beowulf represents the importance of community as seen through King Hrothgar, Beowulf

Epic of Beowulf

1740 words - 7 pages Christian moralizing Looking further to the Old English literature we can provide an example of Christian – Pagan Work which is probably one of the best of its times. Beowulf, written by an unknown poet, reflect both the values of Christian and Pagan religions. It was written during the time when the society was converting from the paganism to Christianity. We should forstly focus on the words that say the Beowulf comes from a christianized

Litterary Analyis on Beowulf

693 words - 3 pages the two seas,” (l 1296-1297) Now in today’s time what Grendel’s mom did would be not good, if living in the time the story of Beowulf is written and something happened to someone I care about I would do what Grendel’s mother did but the only problem with doing that in today’s time is that it is illegal to kill anyone. The 3rd major point: Greed Many people hold on to things that are special to them that may remind them of someone they

Beowulf vs. the 13th Warrior

853 words - 4 pages Michael Crichton intertwined some aspects of Beowulf with his own thoughts to produce the drama, “The 13th Warrior.” Beowulf, written down by an unnamed Christian monk in the 8th century, served as a framework for the plot of “The 13th Warrior.” Beowulf and “The 13th Warrior” have many differences but the similarities that they share are more abundant through out the two pieces. Instead of doing a direct translation of Beowulf, the

Beowulf As An Epic Hero

1034 words - 5 pages Every epic hero possesses certain heroic characteristics. Beowulf, like other epic heroes, possesses the following heroic qualities: epic heroes are superhuman types of beings. They have a noble birth and show great bravery. They display great intelligence and resourcefulness. They have a reverence for G-d and for the values of their society. They are dominant male figures and suffer severe pain, but in the end, they conquer evil (Vivone 9/27

Differences Between Beowulf And Achilles

425 words - 2 pages Beowulf and Achilles are different in many ways; one of which is their character. Beowulf is a great warrior and leader who fought to protect his soldiers and to make places more peaceful. He also perfectly embodies the values of loyalty, pride, and courtesy. Achilles, on the other hand, is not as heroic as Beowulf, even thought he was also a great warrior and had superhuman strength, he mostly fought for revenge, social position, and power. He

Gift-Giving In Beowulf And The Odyssey

1715 words - 7 pages Gift-Giving in Beowulf and the Odyssey Literature has always been an immensely helpful resource when discerning cultural values in societies past and present. Through the study of noteworthy historic fictional and factual, texts we are able to distinguish parallel characteristics present through many different cultures and time periods. These distinguishing characteristics are one of the main things that help us to determine when and how a

Beowulf vs. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Formal Response

294 words - 2 pages Beowulf vs. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Formal Response Essay) When comparing the two stories of Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one can see many similarities and differences. In the following paragraph you will see many similarities. To begin with, both stories are set in wild, strange, and scary places. In Beowulf, the main setting is in the marsh where in which Grendel and his mother lived. Like Beowulf, the

Beowulf, Sir Gawain And King Arthur - Three Heroes

1149 words - 5 pages The three heroes discussed here, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and King Arthur, are heroes for different reasons. Beowulf, our earliest hero, is brave but his motivation is different than then other two. To Sir Gawain personal honor and valor is what is important. King Arthur, Sir Gawain's uncle, is naturally the quintessential king of the medieval period. Though all men to a certain extent share the same qualities, some are more pronounced than in the

Related Papers

Beowulf Essay

924 words - 4 pages Beowulf, You're My Hero! An epic poem tells the victories of the hero. Beowulf, the hero in the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, exemplifies the heroic ideal through his acts of heroism. The pursuit of the heroic ideal is made up of three things: enduring fame, having no belief in an afterlife, and dying gloriously. The heroic ideal is also typified by wanting excellence, wanting to be the best, fighting, and showing skill and courage. When

Beowulf Essay

1506 words - 7 pages Johanna Gauss CITY school 9-28-09 BEOWULF ESSAY The story of Beowulf and his monsters is a long and complicated record of terror, blood, glory, and death. The setting draws us to a place and time that's foreign to this generations understanding. It was a time when Anglo-Saxon tribes fought one another, when death and change was inevitable, and when the only thing that mattered was how or where you died. This race of warriors must

Beowulf Terms Essay

694 words - 3 pages Beowulf Vocabulary 1. Scop: n. an Old English bard or poet. Sentence: William Shakespeare was not considered as a scop. 2. Moored: vb. 1. to secure (a ship, boat, dirigible, etc.) in a particular place, as by cables and anchors or by lines. 2. to fix firmly; secure. Sentence: I always moored my bike with two locks so that it won’t get stolen. 3. Gables: n. 1. the portion of the front or side of a building enclosed by or masking the end of

Beowulf Essay

252 words - 2 pages Using smartphones when drivingHave you ever seen anyone who is driving but at the same time texting? And did you know that using the smartphone when driving is considered extremely dangerous? In recent years, our roads have been plagued by a new epidemic. Everyday the technology goes farther, and it means that smartphones too, everyday more people buy smartphones even if they are more expensive with the past of the time because of their new