Realism Vs. Paganism In Beowulf
Even Hygelac, the seemingly righteous king, is much closer to a German chieftain than a man of God (Moorman 7). The paganism is more subtle than the Christianity, but it is much more integral to the poem. In contrast to Wilson, Charles Moorman sees “the Christianity expressed in the poem as it has come down to us is not a part of its original design” (4). In saying this, he means that the poem began as a pagan story. Pride is grafted into the epic, not as a sin, but as a part of the warrior code of the pagans.
Beowulf has many small elements of paganism that have crept into the story. According to Christianity, pride is the original sin of Adam, the original man. In contrast to this, the Geats and Danes value pride as a part of their warrior code. Beowulf boasts about his feats of strength. When he faces Grendel, the poet goes to great lengths to mention the great strength that Beowulf possesses (Beowulf 131 a). Pessimism is a hallmark of Scandinavian paganism. These people lived in a time when wars, disease, and natural disasters plagued them. Their