Examples Of Paganism In Beowulf

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The oldest piece of English literature, Beowulf, was composed around 700 A.D., several hundred years after the Anglo Saxons had conquered and settled in Britain. It was transcribed in a physical form around the year 1000 A.D. after exclusively being told orally. The poem was only conveyed by illiterate storytellers who recited it from memory. The story was naturally adapted by these storytellers to remain consistent with their developing culture and society. This poem is one of the only documents that survived from the Anglo Saxon period, so it gives a very accurate portrayal of the time period. Other documents from this time period have only fragments remaining, while Beowulf is seen as a factual document that shows what life was like. This …show more content…
When the Danes were desperate to eliminate the threat of Grendel, they turned to their pagan gods for help. They made offerings to their pagan shrines, but nothing came of it. Such creatures, like Grendel, were unknown to the Christian religion. However, monsters and trolls similar to him could be traced back to Norse mythology. There were many important figures for the pagans who believed in the Norse mythology. In particular, the god of fate, Wyrd, was someone who influenced them. Wyrd is credited by Beowulf for assuring his survival when fighting Grendel 's mother. Later on, Wyrd is also recognized for having controlled the outcome of Beowulf 's final battle with the dragon. In addition to giving an insight into the Anglo Saxons’ religious views, Beowulf illustrates their high standards for …show more content…
In Anglo Saxon culture, a warrior’s bravery depended on them accepting the fact that they will lose their life in a battle at some point in their life. The way that Beowulf embodies this characteristic is that he risked his life in order to help a group of strangers. In his initial fight with Grendel, Beowulf wanted it to be fair, so he did not use any weapons or armor. Beowulf also did not back down in any of his battles. Even when Beowulf became an old king, he still displayed the same amount of bravery by venturing to defeat the dragon. Over the duration of the entire fight, Beowulf fights bravely until the end where he surrenders his life.
Another desirable trait for a hero to have is arrogance when speaking of past accomplishments or battles. Repeatedly in the poem Beowulf would recount the battles he was in. Following the defeat of Grendel and his mother, Beowulf returned to detail the fights and boast of his success. Sometimes boastfulness was needed as a defense if someone was questioning another’s character. This is seen when Unferth challenges whether Beowulf can defeat Grendel because of a swimming match Beowulf had when he was a young boy. Beowulf had to preserve his character in front of everyone in the mead hall when it came under

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