According to most historians, the Anglo-Saxon period began in and ended in with the Norman conquest. This was a period of years, almost three times longer than America has been a country. From this period, only some 30, lines of poetry remain, about the length of a long best seller.
This time period provides us with an idea for the mixture of Christian and pagan elements because of an English society that was in the process of converting from Paganism to Christianity. Examples of Pagan and Christian traditions are presented all throughout literature. Many of the influences deal with what it going on in the world, when the piece is written.
When Beowulf was written, St. Augustine had just come over to try and convert the Anglo-Saxon people to Christianity; although the conversion succeeded it was a shallow conversion, and there were still people following the Pagan ways. The fact that Christianity and Paganism are so closely combined in the epic explains the reasons for Beowulfs Christian and pagan influences.
The good qualities of loyalty, humility, sacrifice for the good of others, and sympathy for those less fortunate are seen woven into the text as well as the negative consequences from greed and pride. In a thorough analysis of Beowulf, the Christian and pagan elements, represented in the characters and their journeys through various countries, creates an epic adventure filled with superhuman qualities and Christian ideals that often parallel themselves to biblical characters and events.
The pagan elements of the epic are evident in a couple of the characters superhuman qualities during the first two parts of the poem.
Beowulf vows to fight Grendel with no weapons and will rely only on his super strength to defeat the monster. During the battle, Beowulf wrestles with the evil monster until he is able to grab hold of Grendels arm and rip it out of the socket These pagan, superhuman feats also appear in part two where Beowulf swims downward for an entire day, without oxygen, before reaching the lair of Grendels mother.
In their battle, Beowulfs sword is useless against the tough skin of Grendels mother. He seizes a sword hanging on the wall that was forged by giants too heavy for any normal human to hold and slashes through the monsters tough body Beowulfs superhuman strength is even more undeniable when he tells of his swimming match at sea with Breca.
They each swam in icy waters for five days and five nights carrying swords to fight off the sea monsters. When Beowulf found himself pulled underwater by a monster, he killed it and eight other sea beasts that came to attack him These pagan influences of amazing superhuman strength are not only apparent in Beowulf, but in many of the monsters he confronts on his journey.
Another pagan influence is instilled.
In many pagan religions and believes, animals were worshiped as gods. Beowulf seems afraid of defeat and failure. His boastful remarks are reminders to himself of his invincibility. In this poem, the poet is both critical and praising of the Anglo-Saxons beliefs and customs.
Grendel, as well as his mother, has no knowledge of weapons so he depends on his extraordinary strength to destroy his enemies. He devours men whole leaving almost no trace of blood or destruction except for the door he ripped off the hinges.
In Beowulf, among other pagan stories, the dragon is seen as a super powerful enemy to the hero. When a thief infiltrates the dragons lair and steals a gem-covered goblet, the dragon awakes with rage and terrorizes the Earth.With other christian stories from Christian cultures for, example Beowulf, the effect that christianity itself has on this poem is too evident to say completely that Beowulf characteristic is Pagan.
Another one of Anglo-Saxon beliefs that is described in Beowulf, is the characteristic of Paganism. Epic of Beowulf - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf Essay - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf In Beowulf the Christian element, which coexists alongside the pagan or heathen, sometimes in a seemingly contradictory fashion, is many faceted.
Through the Anglo-Saxon Beliefs illustrated in the poem, Beowulf, characteristics of Christianity, paganism, and the clashing of the two ideas are representing through the epic hero Beowulf. Christian symbolism in Beowulf within the poem Beowulf, the poet utilizes the Christian religion to symbolize the elements of good and evil and Heaven and Hell.
Beowulf is . Beowulf: An intersection of Christian and pagan ideals The epic poem Beowulf is the story of a great, ideal hero of Anglo-Saxon, pre-Christian culture transposed into Christian times.
Although the poem appears to be originally pagan, Beowulf is a Christian poem in terms of its historical background, biblical allusions, and the characters’ beliefs and reliance on God. First, the author of Beowulf lived in a period when the transformation from Germanic paganism to Christianity occurred. Epic of Beowulf - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf Essay - Contradictory Christian Elements in Beowulf In Beowulf the Christian element, which coexists alongside the pagan or heathen, sometimes in a seemingly contradictory fashion, is many faceted. Through the Anglo-Saxon Beliefs illustrated in the poem, Beowulf, characteristics of Christianity, paganism, and the clashing of the two ideas are representing through the epic hero Beowulf.
It stands on a crossroads of literature: on one hand, it is not written in conventional, standard English and unlike Chaucer it requires a modern translation for. 'Beowulf' is an epic poem written in the Medieval period. Paganism in Beowulf: Examples & Analysis The ship burial in Beowulf is a pagan practice found in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic areas.