Norse And Anglo-Saxon Culture In The Epic Of Beowulf

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Surprisingly, the average person knows very little about Anglo-Saxon culture as well as Norse mythology, despite that fact that traditions, customs, and figures from these cultures permeate all aspects of modern society. From religious practices to pop culture, bits and pieces of Norse and Anglo-Saxon culture impact our daily lives. One of the greatest English Epics is Beowulf. Written in 9th century England, the text describes that tale of a mighty warrior who travels far and wide to defeat evil. This text is quite peculiar as it contains both traditional Anglo-Saxon/Norse characteristics, interwoven with Christian influences. Rather than representative of the syncretism of Christian and Anglo Saxon traditions of the time period, evidence …show more content…
It is also apparent later in the text that pieces of Christian tradition were spliced into the story. During Beowulf’s fight with Grendel’s mother, the author stops mid sentence to describe God, “had not his war-shirt given good help, hard ring-netting, and holy Lord, Ruler of skies, decided it rightly, easily, once he stood up again.” (Beowulf 1552-1556). This pause in the actions seems to be out of place and awkward as the action is stopped and interrupted simply to clarify the position of god and his role in the fight. If the phase concerning God were to be redacted, the scene would remain intact, as well as sound more fluid without the interruption. Either through carelessness, or other rationale, the numerous awkward placement of God and transitions makes it clear that this text was redacted to serve a Christian missionary …show more content…
In order to maintain the integrity of the plot and storyline, not all of the Norse and Anglo-Saxon traditions could have been removed. Thus, the seemingly sloppy placement of Christian values as well as contradictions in the story would be justified by such an explanations. One example of this is the story of Sigemund, “No small glory shone for Sigemund after his death-day; hardened by wars, he killed a dragon, a treasure keeper.”(884-887). This depicts a clear representation of Norse and Anglo Saxon culture as this story seems important to the overall story. Another example of this is the use of the cremation of Beowulf towards the end of the text. “The Geatish people then built a pyre on that high ground”(239) and they also surrounded Beowulf with treasure at the times of his death. None of these are Christian values and they violate the Christian practice of asceticism as well as the fact that cremation was not a Christian practice. These however, were crucial to the development of the plot and thus essential to the

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