Battle Against Grendel's Mother

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Messages and Symbolism During Beowulf’s Battle Against Grendel’s Mother

Under the credible assumption that a Christian – or, some speculate, many of them – actually wrote Beowulf, rather than merely edited it, its author faced, and confronted with the writing of the epic, a singular obstacle: persuading pagans to convert to Christianity by describing Christianity, which also condemned and promised to abolish the system of blood feud, as compatible with pagan culture, to an extent. This theme comes to the forefront during Beowulf’s battle with Grendel’s mother: charging into battle because of the incontrovertibly pagan glorification of “fame after death” (67), he later asserts that he would have undoubtedly lost “if our Father in Heaven had not helped me” (75). After all, nearly
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Upon receiving gratefully the hilt of this sword, Hrothgar seems to experience an epiphany; gazing at the “runic letters… and snakelike carvings” (76), he announces lengthily that “the world” belongs to “God” (77), and advises Beowulf to avoid greed and pride. Clearly, this drives home the point that Beowulf’s victory would not have happened without the sword show to him by God – or, in other words, Christianity. Therefore, the reader must follow the way of God, proven as the only solution to blood feud (ie, Grendel and his mother); hence Hrothgar’s recommendation to Beowulf to avoid greed and pride (and in extension blood feud; ie, Hrunting), which would only cause failure. Further validating his message, the author describes Hrothgar, the principal conveyor of the battle’s lessons, as a wise “old king” (76) with “wrinkled hands” (75), symbolizing wisdom; after all, pagans had copious respect for their

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