Beowulf: the Pagan & Christian Epic Hero Essay

1570 Words Oct 30th, 2011 7 Pages
Beowulf has both pagan and Christian influences. Throughout the story there are many elements of Christian teachings: that man survives only through the protection of God, that all earthly gifts flow from God, and that the proper bearing of man is to be humble and unselfish (, 2011). While many pagan influences appear in the poem, Christian overtones are more prevalent, exhibiting many elements of Christian heroism in the poem. An example is when Beowulf says “God must decide who will be given to death's cold grip” (Norton, lines 174-175). He knows that God has already created an ending to this battle with Grendel, and he is lavished with peace. He shows true Christian character, bravery, and faith in the manner in which he …show more content…
Beowulf repeatedly acknowledges God as his protector, especially before a battle. Specifically in episode two and three, God is referred to as the “Omnipotent Father who will protect them in kindness” (Norton, 2009). When Beowulf speaks of his battle with Grendel’s mother, he states that "The fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me" (Norton, 2009). Though the poem gives a sense of divine power, it also gives the notion that God gives a warrior the will to fight in battle, therefore earning a position of prominence through his actions and deeds. This is the pagan idea that has Beowulf depicted as a superhero. Beowulf feels it is his responsibility to save the Danes from Grendel. Beowulf does not use weapons but chooses to beat the monster with his own super strength. This is important because it shows how he has veered away from his dependence on God to fight his battle. Beowulf’s strength is greater than anything ever seen in a warrior. It is also important to note that Grendel is also considered supernatural because of his strength. He is seen as a superhuman monster. Grendel has no knowledge of weapons and depends on his powerful strength to destroy his enemies (Block, 2008). Beowulf fights with Grendel until he tears one of the monster's arms off. When Beowulf battles Grendel, he exhibits a sense of fairness when he refuses to use a weapon. There is a pervasive sense of living

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