Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf
The epic poem, Beowulf, exhibits many different Christian and pagan influences. Beowulf was written at a time in the Anglo-Saxon period that drastic change was taking place in the religious lifestyle. It shows Christianity by referring to Holy God, the Heavens, and The Bible story about Cain. It demonstrates paganism with the superhuman abilities of Beowulf, monsters and dragons, the use of magic, and the belief that fame is important. In the story Beowulf can be viewed as both Christ-like and as pagan. By mixing Christian and pagan ideas, the author of Beowulf was able to show the importance of the morals of his time and to make his characters better with Christian values and pagan legends.
At the time when Beowulf was written missionaries were trying to convert the pagan Anglo-Saxon people into a Christian society. Therefore the poem has influences from both Christian and pagan views. Although most of the Anglo-Saxons appeared to be committed Christians many still had their pagan beliefs.
There are many pagan concepts exhibited throughout the story Beowulf. The main character, Beowulf, is depicted as a superhero because of his amazing strength, courage, and loyalty. He goes into a battle with Grendel, a man eating monster with incredible strength and size, with no weapons just his own super strength. He not only kills Grendel with his bare hands but he tears his arm off too. Then when Beowulf battles Grendel’s mother, he floats underwater for hours with no oxygen and manages to kill her too. By picking up a huge sword, made by giants, that no normal human would be able to pick up, he cuts her head off. In Beowulf’s old age he can still battle monsters that are terrorizing his people. He fights a fire breathing dragon and kills it even though he is an old man. The dragon fatally wounds him and he can still manage to cut it in half, with the help of Wiglac stabbing the dragon’s throat to stop the flames. The fights...