Paganism In Beowulf Essay

1133 Words 5 Pages
Although Christianity dominated the Anglo Saxon lifestyle, paganism was a present reality still being practiced. Paganism is a religion based on animism, or the belief that spirits resided in everything ("What Is Paganism?”). Pagans often worshipped multiple Gods, sacrificed animals and other commodities, and loved feasting and participating in festivals. An individuals destiny, fate, and glory were all important to Anglo Saxon’s in that they believed that immortality could be earned through heroic actions, this is revealed in Beowulf. Anglo Saxon life was dictated by by the need to protect your tribe or home against enemies (Neyman). These ideas are all well represented within Beowulf; throughout the poem Christian beliefs are highly valued …show more content…
37). There are many examples throughout Beowulf that express the Christian faith and show that the epic poem was much more than just a story for the Anglo Saxon people to listen to at the mead-hall. The narrator incorporates their own beliefs and adds many references to their personal religion, not only to captivate the audience, but to allow the audience to relate to the poem. For instance, our first main monster, Grendel, is said to be a decedent of Cain. (The first son of Adam and Eve, who murdered his brother Abel) (Turner). “Grendel was the name of this grim demon…he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts” (Greenblatt 103-07 p. 44). The narrator explains that by Cain murdering his kin, the “Eternal Lord” had declared he be exiled to the realm or territory of, “ogres and elves and evil phantoms and the giants …show more content…
This comes to surface when Beowulf is beginning to battle Grendel’s mother in her lair. The narrator begins a description of the expansiveness of her “outlandish lair” (Greenblatt 1500 p. 74). “… a bewildering horde came at him from the depths, droves of sea-beasts who attacked with tusks and tore at his chain-mail in a ghastly onslaught” (Greenblatt 1509-11 p. 74). This is a portrayal of how her (Grendel’s Mother’s) home in the lake could be compared to the seven levels of hell, whereas it is elucidated in a mostly pagan manner due to the animalistic diction

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