J. English

Beowulf and Christianity
Throughout the story of Beowulf, one finds many struggles between existing pagan beliefs and values and the newly expanding set of Christian beliefs and value. Beowulf is a courageous and strong man who seeks to help others under God’s protection, while practicing his Anglo Saxon beliefs. During the time Beowulf was composed, Christianity was a newly found religion that had just begun to spread throughout England. Most newly civilized cultures still worshiped the numerous pagan gods. They did not believe in just one God. The author of Beowulf illustrates many struggles throughout the poem between practicing the old religion while incorporating the new found religion.
Let’s look into one aspect of the Anglo Saxon belief. Pagans believed that one must have loyalty, honor, and courage to become known throughout the land .One may enjoy the riches of life and fulfill the desire to become famous by accomplishing heroic tasks. Beowulf demonstrated his heroism numerous times throughout his life, especially when he came to the aide of the Danes to rid themof their night stalking creatures. Each successful endeavor by Beowulf is celebrated by a large celebration in Mead Hall in honor of Beowulf. As Hrothgar stated to Beowulf, “Take your place then, with pride and pleasure and move to the feast” (Ll. 1782-3) . This statement is an example of pagan belief. Once you prove yourself a hero, great riches and pleasures await you.
Now let’s take a look into the Christian beliefs exhibited in the poem. There are few times within the poem that the author incorporates Christian values. Beowulf first comes to the aide of the Danes when he heard of the monster that preyed upon Hrothgar’s kingdom during the night. Beowulf introduces himself to Hrothgar and explains the reason for his journey. Beowulf begins to tell his plan of action against the horrid monster. Beowulf speaks of fighting Grendel without any armor and says to the thanes...