Essay about Beowulf

1774 Words Apr 10th, 2012 8 Pages
In the classic epic Beowulf we follow the great hero from his time as a young boy to his final moments as King of the Geats. During this many traits of various characters are revealed to us, none however as in depth as what is revealed about the titular figure of Beowulf. This is done through a jumble of Pagan and Christian values that are being bounced between throughout the text. Many of his ‘softer’ virtues such as forgiveness, generosity and commitment, seem to stem primarily from the Christian values whereas his ‘harsher’ virtues such as bravery, resourcefulness, and determination seem to stem more from the Pagan/ Germanic values. This conflict stems directly from the era in which this epic was written. During a time when Christianity …show more content…
Prior in the passage, when Beowulf’s chainmail saves him from being crushed, the narrator adds “holy God decided the victory” (67. 1553-1554) making whatever happens next strictly Gods will and not attributable to Beowulf. However, Beowulf is able to take credit for another trait central to Christianity, Forgiveness. In fact, the scene in which Beowulf exemplifies this is almost a text book of “turn the other cheek”. Upon Beowulf’s arrival to Heorot, Unferth is quick to criticize Beowulf, who is reputed to be the strongest and best warrior in the world. Unferth brings up a time in which Beowulf lost a swimming race. He reminds Unferth that he had to fight off a whole litany of sea monsters and still finished, to which Unferth replies that if he really were the strongest, he still would have won. Unferth extends an olive branch before Beowulf leaves to fight Grendels mother. Unferth gives him a sword, Hrunting, which “… had never failed the hand of anyone who hefted it in battle…” (65. 1460-1461). As we know the sword it totally ineffective but because of God’s will Beowulf survives. When he surfaces and returns to Heorot, he recants the events that unfolded, but instead of throwing the sword at Unferth and telling him it was garbage he states simply “Although Hrunting is hard-edged,/ I could never bring it to bear in battle” (69. 1659-1660). Despite earlier suffering what

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