Critical Article Summary Beowulf

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Bodek, Richard. "Beowulf." The Explicator 62.3 (Spring 2004): 130(3). Student Resource Center Bronze. Gale. Lincoln Way East High School. 13 Oct. 2008 <> The author of this article is Richard Bodek. He is a proffesor of history at the College of Charleston. The main idea behind Bodek writing this article is to compare and contrast whether Beowulf is a Christian poem with pagan overtones or a pagan poem with a Christian overlay and discuss the battle between them. The article also discusses different views of respected writers and evidence behind their beliefs. However the main focus of the article is on that of the sermon Hrothgar gives after Beowulf returns from killing Grendals mother. Here Hrothgar tells the story of Heremond, who could be seen as Cain, and how although he was powerful he disrespected his people, thus leading to his demise. “He suffered in the end for having plagued his people for so long: his life lost happiness” (130). Bodek believes that Hrothgar is telling Beowulf that Pagan values should be held higher then those of Christians. He believes that, “Heremod's tragedy lay in his reliance on Christian blessing and favor with God, rather than on adherence to the traditional Danish code” (130). With this in mind Beowulf would have to act more humble or risk becoming a second Cain. Also belief in paganism would be more rewarding because, “God's blessing and favor are fickle. They can be rescinded without warning, leading to a life emptied of happiness” (130). In the end it seems the the poem has more pagan elements then Christian elements and that although biblical stories are a main part they are still not followed by Beowulf as much as his pagan virtues
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