Christian and Pagan Elements in Beowulf
Would Beowulf have the same effects if Christianity had not been added in by a monk? In all likelihood, it probably would not have the same effects because he incorporated so many Christian beliefs. The mix of Christian and pagan elements in Beowulf reveals three themes: good conquers evil, humans should be loyal to a higher power, and we will be punished for wrongdoings.
In regard to themes, one of the main themes in Beowulf is good conquers evil. “In the end each clan on the outlying coasts beyond the whale-road had to yield to him and pay tribute. That was one good king” (ll. 9-11, Beowulf, 2013). These lines show how everyone will acknowledge the good king one day, even the evil forces. It also represents both Christian and pagan beliefs. From a pagan perspective, it references clans or tribes and kings, which is what pagans believed in. From a Christian perspective, one can infer that the king is appointed by God. Additionally, Christians believe that we will stand before the king, which is God, one day. Regardless of who the king is, both religions believe we will stand before him one day and “pay tribute to him,” even the conquered ones. Furthermore, in Beowulf, Grendel is considered one of the most evil, “…that demon, that fiend…” (l.16), forces in the land. Like Grendel, his mother is full of hate, “…greedy…scratched in vain…” (ll.574-582). Even though Grendel and his mother are the most evil in all the land, Beowulf, the good king, is still able to defeat them.
In addition to themes, another one from Beowulf is humans should be loyal to a higher power. In lines 149-151 it says, “My people have said…that my duty was to go to the Danes’ Great king.” One of the main reasons Beowulf goes to save the Geat people is because his father owes a debt to King Hrothgar. By saving the people, Beowulf proves his loyalty to his father, the higher power. Another example of this theme is found in lines...