Themes And Symbolism In Beowulf

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During the Early English period, writings mainly consisted of poems. One of the many poems written in the Early English period was entitled Beowulf. Beowulf has plenty of themes and symbols that can be discussed throughout the poem. For example, some of the major themes that are included in Beowulf are the concept of identity and good versus evil. One reflection that stands out is the storyteller’s attitude toward material wealth. The storyteller’s attitude toward material wealth is a reflection of Christ’s teachings in the book of Matthew. In Beowulf material things seem to be important to both the Geats and the Danes. The Danish mead-hall is reflective of decadence and holds a collection of extraordinary goblets. The mead-hall is built, …show more content…
In Beowulf, “Finally I healed the feud by paying: I shipped a treasure-trove to the Wulfings, and Ecgtheow acknowledged me with moths of allegiance” (470-472). I believe this action is an example of parallelism between God and his people. Many people believe their sins may be washed away through payment since they are wealthy or that God may favor the wealthy people more since they have more money. Jesus puts an end to this by saying this to his disciples, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version Matt. 19. 24). The meaning of this message Christ provides to his disciples is clear. Even if a person has all the riches in the world, that does not make him safe on Judgement Day. The reason I believe these two quotes contradict each other is because Hrothgar believes his wealth may save him from future wars with his enemy, but the people of God know that wealth has no affect towards …show more content…
After the devastating battle against the dragon, Wiglaf was appointed King of the Geats. Wiglaf received the treasure that the dragon was hoarding and decided to make a wise decision with it. In Beowulf it states, “They let the ground keep that ancestral treasure, gold under gravel, gone to earth, as useless to men now as it ever was” (3166-3168). Wiglaf has learned from the dragon, and previous rulers, that wealth is as evil to society as a fire breathing dragon. Jesus also states that, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...” (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version Matt. 6. 19). The meaning of this message Christ provides is to allow people to realize and understand that material wealth is only temporary, but the treasures in heaven are eternal. All in all, we can now see the difference between the storyteller’s view on wealth and Jesus’s view on wealth. The storyteller of Beowulf believes in showing the wealth of the characters to impress others, demonstrate their power, and heal feuds. In Matthew, Jesus states that people should not perform actions to impress others and to seek God’s forgiveness through him and not through payment in

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