Pagan Criticism Of Beowulf

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Register to read the introduction… Grendel’s mother is described as “a monstrous ogress” who attacks the mead hall to avenge her son. Because Grendel’s mother is as strong as Beowulf, he has to wear full armour and use a sword in this fight. This preparation indicates that Beowulf is not confident when he has to fight with anger and vengeance. As a pagan hero, Beowulf believes in vengeance: “It is better for a man/ to avenge his friend than to refresh his sorrow” (1383-4). He sets up to kill Grendel’s mother to avenge Ashhere, Hthrogar’s counsellor. This fight is more difficult for Beowulf than the fight with Grendel, as Beowulf is angry and his cause to kill is not pure: “He scoured the dwelling in single-minded anger” (1572-3). Beowulf only wins the fight because God has given him a sword. Yet that sword is melted by Grendel’s mother’s blood, which might suggest how powerful vengeance can be: it can destroy the God’s gift and make a man alienate himself from God. Beowulf is open to the evil of vengeance, which makes him a flawed hero in the Christian …show more content…
His enemy is a dragon which attacks Beowulf’s kingdom because a thief has stolen its treasure (2217-20). Thus the dragon represents greed and pride. By this time, Beowulf is old and weaker than he was before. Nevertheless, he decided to face the dragon on his own, which shows his great pride. Beowulf’s pride is a deadly character flaw, as it makes him reckless and arrogant. Beowulf loses his good judgement and chooses to risk his life fighting again the dragon. He does not consider how his kingdom will be like without him. Beowulf does not receive God’s help in this fight, possibly because he is presumptuous and arrogant about his strength. However, Beowulf receives the help of his trusted companion, Wiglaf (2597-2604), which suggest that Beowulf still deserves a victory for all the good deeds he has done. Beowulf manages to kill the dragon, but he dies soon after “violently” (2783). Before Beowulf dies, he wants to see the treasure he has won (2747-49), which show the greedy side of him. Beowulf was buried with gold and treasure (2802-8), similar to how the ancient king Shield Sheafson was sent out to sea. These physical possessions are the pagan representation a king’s greatness, but they seem vain in the Christian’s point of

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