ABebout – Blog 4

 

I can see both the pagan and Christian qualities of Beowulf. In the beginning, he is a brutish, warrior-like character, and at the end of the poem he is a self-sacrificing Christian hero. In Christian literature, an individual can transform into a Christian at any point in his or her life. This transformation is a revelatory event for that individual, and it drastically changes his or her life. I believe that Beowulf converted to Christianity, even though it is not mentioned, in the middle of the poem; there is no other reason to explain his behavior. When he was fighting Grendel and Grendel’s mother, he was fighting for glory and honor; however, when he was fighting the dragon, he instead was sacrificing his life for his friends – which symbolizes Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for all humankind’s souls.

 

A very raw and honest scene of Beowulf confronting death depicts his struggle with the Christian afterlife and trusting the Lord: 

                       That Ecgtheow’s famous offspring would leave

                       The drake-cavern’s bottom; he must live in some region

                       Other than this, by the will of the dragon,

                       As each one of earthmen existence must forfeit.

                                                                                          -Beowulf’s Last Battle, Lines 122-125

Beowulf’s transition from the mortal life to “some region other than this [Earth]”, or heaven, is an event that all Christians face. Before he died, Beowulf knew that he was going to heaven, and knew that he had lived a life as a Christian. This text can be interpreted in different ways, but it is believed that this “region other than this” is heaven, given that there has been evidence that a Christian author has written or edited part of Beowulf.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I believe that you make a lot of great points in your argument here. One that really caught my attention was when you said that “he instead was sacrificing his life for his friends – which symbolizes Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for all humankind’s souls.” I think that that is a great comparison and contributed to your argument.

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  2. Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Yeah i agree that the book definitely has both elements of pagan and christian aspects. Also that it started out a bit pagan and that in the end he becomes this God praising hero that we see him transitioning into.

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  3. Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree completely that the story represents both pagan and christian values. I think you make a great point when you say in the beginning he was fighting for glory and in the end he was fighting for his friends. I believe the story demonstrates stronger christian values as he believes he is going to heaven for being a good christian.

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