Pagan And Christian Views In Beowulf

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Andrew Jefferson 10/26/10 Period 3 Beowulf essay Opening up with an honorary burial at sea and ending with an equally extravagant funeral bonfire with plenty of killing and gore in between, Beowulf is an epic poem about the Anglo-Saxons and the monsters they encounter. Despite the obvious pagan roots, Beowulf possesses a Christian undertone that is hard to ignore. When Christian missionaries introduced their beliefs to the Anglo-Saxons, it was clear that the two could not coexist; therefore, they must abandon these ancient icons to hold a more straightforward view. Just as the poem’s present-day readers were thrown into an anxious state by analyzing the pull of a pagan past against the new teachings of Christianity, the Christian monk whose task was to blend Christian ideologies in a complex yet effective way was a most daunting task. The poem had to appeal to Anglo-Saxons and his fellow Christians precisely because they were attempting to merge their own beliefs and at times during the poem those beliefs appear to amalgamate. Actions and events will expose both beliefs as they appear distinct from each other throughout the story. The Christian influences were combined with early folklore and the heroic legends of the German tribes. As Christianity and paganism are intertwined in the poem Beowulf reveals both Christian and pagan influences. Therefore, it would be understandable to suggest that the original pagan scop, who sang of this epic poem, was influenced by Christian beliefs but then a Christian monk finally put it on paper. Within the translation of Beowulf by Burton Raffel, it contains the scop’s pagan and Christian influence as well as the monk’s Christian influence. The pagan elements in the epic poem Beowulf are evident in the character’s superhuman personifications, need for material possession, and superstition. Beowulf takes it upon himself

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