Beowulf: Preaching the News of Christianity Essay

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The Anglo-Saxon time period, also known as the “Dark Ages” fostered radically different pagan ideals and themes than we see in our modern day society. The story of Beowulf, set around 500 A.D., takes place in Denmark and Geatland (a region in what is now southern Sweden), and works to combine its pagan ideals along with ideals that many of us believe in today, such as Christianity. “Beowulf” is a renowned story that blends both the Anglo-Saxon beliefs of honor and glory along with Christian beliefs, and also manages to teach Christian principles such as being humble and sacrificing yourself for others to even its own pagan believing society. Upon hearing of the horrific dragon attacking his people, Beowulf had absolutely no qualms about fighting the beast, even though he was in his old age, and that the chances of winning were minimal. He goes, however, because his people need him. The dragon, while being a traditional figure in medieval folklore, is also a common Christian symbol of sin. In pagan beliefs it represents the malice a hero must conquer to prove his goodness, as seen when Beowulf is battling the fearsome dragon, and must defeat it in order to stop it from committing more heinous crimes and to prove his own goodness and worth to his people. Although in Christianity, the dragon represents Satan the devil and sin. These feelings are expressed in Revelation 20:2 where it states, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” As shown from the text, the Bible is comparing the fire-breathing monster to Satan the devil, who is the cause and ruler of all sin, thus having the dragon be associated with all that is sin. The pagan tale then combines the two different beliefs and morphs them into one, thus allowing its non-Christian readers to be able to fully understand its hidden Christian

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