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Pagan rituals and Christianity in Beowulf 2016-09-16 오후 11:44:00

Most epic story is characterized by a protagonist with the super natural power. The epic story of Beowulf, the warrior hero, is largely based on the medieval Christianity, which is characterized as the fusion of Pagan rituals and early Christian beliefs. This amalgamation is quite clear throughout the literature; Beowulf symbolizes good and God, whereas Grendel and his evil mother represents typical pagan demons, emphasizing the strong contrast between good and evil and how Christian God contributes to the righteousness of the protagonist, in this case, Beowulf.

In describing the evil nature of the fiends, Grendel and his mother, the author used allusion from Bible, connecting Grendel with Cain, who killed his brother out of jealousy and was cursed by God. Cain is often perceived as hellish spirit and this characterization allows the reader to understand the extent of evilness that Grendel posses. Also, the poem is quite lucid in showing that Beowulf acknowledges that his power and talent is the “glorious gift that God had granted him, and [he] trusted his Maker’s mercy for courage and support.” Even with strong Christian elements, the literatures also have prevalent pagan customs. For instance, the emphasis on retaliation depicts that the people of these era believed that paying for other’s death was quite important. Grendel ‘s mother’s involvement in the fight and Hrothgar’s “bitter spirit” all trace its origin to the desire of revenge. The emphasis on warrior’s sword was also another pagan ritual that may not quite be lucid enough in this chapter, but is clear in the story as a whole. The decoration of the sword of Beowulf that “carves through the boar on a helm’s crest with keen edge, “can show the Anglo-Saxon’s reverence toward the swords. They believed that writing on the sword would enable the owner to achieve one’s potential power.

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