In some works of literature, certain parallel or recurring events prove to be significant. In Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, there are a number of events and details that consistently occur throughout which—upon thorough analysis—prove to be major elements in the development of the idea that the character Beowulf is a hero with Christian values living in a world surrounded by Paganistic ideals, and he is the one man who can save society from the evils brought upon it by the behavior of its people. In a number of ways, Beowulf is comparable to Jesus Christ, however one major difference proves that no man, no matter how strong and true, will ever fully match the Lord and Savior of all people on Earth.
Many of the references to Christian standards and comparisons of Beowulf to Christ are found leading up to, during, and after each of the three major battle scenes in the story. The first one being the hand-to-hand combat scene versus Grendel, the next being the skirmish with poor Grendel’s mother, and the final clash being a mortal battle with a fierce dragon.
The first battle scene in the narrative, Beowulf’s fight with Grendel is full of suggestions that he acts and thinks very much along the lines of Christianity and may be a martyr with shades of Christ. The whole basis of the battle is an example, since Beowulf has come to Heorot solely for the purpose of saving Hrothgar’s people, whom he has heard were being ferociously slaughtered in the Mead Hall while they slept by the ruthless monster, Grendel. It is very likely that the people themselves, who spent all their time indulging in food, drinks, and anything else material, brought these vicious attacks upon themselves. They chose to live the high life, and the beast Grendel resented them for that. They had shunned him from their society, forced him to the depths of a swamp. They had not been modest or meek, but instead were all boastful and extravagant. They would be sinners in the...