Beowulf Christian Vs Pagan Essay
Paganism and Christianity in Beowulf
Beowulf also cares more about being remembered and getting treasure more that doing a deed for the charity of it. The fact that he wished to be cremated also suggests that he is a pagan. While many pagan influences appear in the poem, Christian overtones dominate. Many of the characters exhibit Christian characteristics. Beowulf has a Christ-like behavior in his good-heartedness and charity. Beowulf understands the plight of the Danes that are being oppressed by the evil monster Grendel just as Christ knew of the oppression of the Jewish people. Both set out on a venture to save their people. To free themselves from the monster, the Danes need a savior, and Beowulf, through his desire to disperse their suffering, comes to save them. When Beowulf battles Grendel, he exhibits a sense of fairness when he refuses to use a weapon.
The idea throu….. Just as Beowulf exemplifies Christ, Grendel mirrors Satan. Beowulf and Grendel represent the Christian beliefs of good verse evil. Grendel is referred to as a descendant of Cain, whom Satan tricks into sinning and committing the first murder. He is the image of a man fallen from grace through sin. Like Satan who is jealous of the happiness and joy that Adam and Eve have in the Garden of Eden, Grendel is jealous of the happiness and joy in Heorot. Grendel, as with Satan, is an adversary of God and poses a great challenge to Beowulf. Grendel lives in an underworld as Satan lives in hell.
The dragon represents malice, greed, and destruction. He is a symbol of the power of Satan. The dragon is a timeless foe, which represents the eternal evils that man must fight to preserve whats good. Beside Christian elements, the poem has many Christian parallels. Grendel who is described as a descendant of Cain is a very hateful creature. He envies the fellowship and happiness he sees. He hates living in the underworld, cut off from the company of other men. He stalks the people and terrorizes them because he is jealous of their joy. Grendels stalking of the Danes is similar to the devil when he was cast out of heaven and the joys that were there.
He became jealous of mankind and to this day stalks people with temptations of evil. While Beowulf is preparing to enter the water, he is pondering the evils that inhabit the pond. He knows he is faced with a greater challenge than before. He prepared as though he were preparing for death. Christ knew before his death that he was facing a great challenge, and he forgave his enemies. He rises from the water a redeemed man much as Christ arose from the tomb. As Moorman says, the entire of Beowulf, regardless of its Christian elements, is emphatically and most un-Christianly skeptical in its perspective of life and history.
The narrative structure of the poem shows that albeit even the most heroic of men may for a period conquer the forces of obscurity, he in time will be vanquished by them. Although the pagans were devoted to their gods, they were prepared to provide sacrifices to them, not die for them, like the Christians died for Christ. This devotion moved them, Christianity provided the pagans with the opportunity to embrace a deity that loved His people and did not demand sacrifices for victory. The act of martyrdom destroyed the misconceptions associated with the claims of superstitious practices associated with Christianity.
No one would be so willing to die for a god that promoted evils, such as adultery. The reasons that Christianity managed to prevail over the imperial cult and the mystery cults stemmed from the willingness of the martyrs to die for Christianity, as these were behaviours that the members of these cults were not willing to replicate. When looked at in-depth the pagan community would not find the incestuous, bestial, cannibalistic religion they were told about, but an altruistic faith. Through interacting with the Christian minority the pagans would have discovered a faith that it altruistic in nature, a faith that seeks to help everyone regardless of gender, age or religious affiliation.
Martyrdom dispelled the myths perpetuated by an empire in fear of malevolent gods and introduced them to the true God, energizing the faithful to embrace martyrdom with joy. To refuse the rejection of God and to embrace martyrdom is the highest honour in the Christian faith. The dogma of martyrdom is the most prevalent in Catholicism, as it is a faith that has experienced….
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