The Relationship Of Christianity And Christianity In The Tale Of Beowulf

1325 Words 6 Pages
The Anglo-Saxon Era was one of transition from pagan beliefs to Christianity, which can be see interwoven in the literature of the period. By the time “Beowulf” was transcribed, pagan mythology and Christian truths were viewed as mutually exclusive ideals, but to many people these tales coexisted within their hearts and minds as is revealed by the story of “Beowulf” as the author transitions seamlessly between the two warring worldviews. The relationship of Christianity and pagan legends is complex and intertwined in literature; often, the pagan legends were recorded by Christian monks, who added hints of Christianity to the pagan tales. Looking back to the society and culture in history can provide valuable insights into today’s world and …show more content…
Both viewpoints have influence in the way pride is portrayed in this story. Hrothgar warns vehemently against pride saying, “Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, / eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. / For a brief while your strength is in bloom / but it fades quickly” (1759-1762). This warning correlates with Christian teaching of pride as sin, as well as warnings from scripture that teach that man’s strength is only temporary. Later, at the end of Beowulf’s life when he is on the verge of his final battle, after he acknowledges his former battle prowess, the aged king states that “[He] shall pursue this fight / for the glory of winning” (2513-2514). This vain attitude Beowulf expressed was common of the warriors of his time. Beowulf was fighting for his own glory, rather than merely to defend his people from the attacks of the fierce dragon. If Beowulf would not have, in his conceit, chosen to fight the dragon alone, perhaps then he would have lived through the battle; fighting alone Beowulf would have failed miserably had Wiglaf not joined the fray giving him the strength to continue the …show more content…
Even some of the qualities ascribed to a wise warrior are given to love: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (1 Cor 13:4). Patience is attributed to both charity and a wise warrior, as not puffing up oneself is comparable to refraining from a boast. Furthermore, the lamenting style of both “Beowulf” and “The Wanderer” is reminiscent of the writings in some of the Psalms and Proverbs, as well as the book of Ecclesiastes. The lone wanderer cries: “’Where did the steed go? Where the young warrior? Where the / treasure giver? / Where the seats of fellowship? Where the hall’s festivity? / Alas bright beaker! Alas burnished warrior! / Alas pride of princes! How the time has passed, / gone under night-helm as if it never was!” (92-96). This passage corresponds markedly to Ecclesiastes, which states: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour, which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose

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