Christianity & Paganism in Beowulf Essay

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- Intermingled Elements in the poem Religion plays a major role in the building process of the Medieval Epic poem Beowulf due to the circumstances connected to the poem's origin and occurrence. The story was composed at the same time of England conversion into Christianity and the story-telling which occurred in late Anglo-Saxon Britain when it has recently been Christianized is dealing with an early medieval Scandinavian pagan story. The poem-composer balances the tone of the poem by making it neither specifically Christian nor pagan throughout either combining direct references of paganism to ones of the Old Testament; Recalling/ The Almighty making of the earth, shaping/ These beautiful plains marked off by oceans,/ Then proudly setting the sun and moon/ To glow across the land and light it;/...made quick with life, with each/ Of the nations who now move on its face.1 or by making references to doctrines of God without discussing Jesus even once; as a result, the poem is a mixture of two ideals: pagan heroic warrior, and humble selfless Christian. Beowulf would have been pagan, this is a fact, yet the poet still can suggest that his hero's faith is of Christian context. The materials of the story were influenced to a considerable extent by Christian-originating ideas which made the poem subject of various interpretations, yet the poet achieved the balance he attained for his poem by avoiding clashes between Christianity and Paganism by intermingling Germanic pagan tradition which agrees or at least does not controvert Christianity except in few places, like the giants who are honored by one and contemned by the other. One of the most significant examples of mixing both elements is the passage about his fight with the nine sea-monsters in which a reference to fate or wyrd, paganism, is uttered "fate let me/ Find its
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