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Beowulf has many aspects in its text that shows both pagan and Christian views.  Although the pagan views are very apparent in the beginning of the story, I feel that Christianity eventually envelops the tale and prevails over the pagan ideals of fate.

“The Almighty Judge
of good deeds and bad, the Lord God,
Head of the Heavens and High King of the World,
was unknown to them. Oh, cursed is he
who in time of trouble had to thrust his soul
into the fire’s embrace, forfeiting help;
he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he
who after death can approach the Lord
and find friendship in the Father’s embrace.” (180-188)

This quote portrays that the narrator admits feeling sorry for the pagan ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons. This is because the narrator felt as though the people who believe in the pagan ways didn’t have the opportunity to receive the Christian God for help.

As one continues reading, there’s some condescension in this admission, because while there is concern for the pagan followers there is also bitterness because of differences in their religious paths. At the same time there is also a genuine sorrow for the people who can never be saved by the Christian God. Finally, I believe that Beowulf would be a saint because of his undying devotion for his people. He entirely fulfills the persona of an epic and tragic hero.

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This entry was posted in Blog 4 (Jan 8-9) Team Saxon? Team Saint?. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

4 Comments

  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I recognized that there is more of a pagan tone in the beginning of the poem, but there is a more biblical tone toward the end of the poem. The excerpt that you quoted and the analysis of it is incredibly interesting! The narrator does pity the pagan ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons, and also implicitly warns others pagans to convert to Christianity through this message.

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  2. Posted January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    It was unique that you discussed the role of the narrator here as well. I think that the narrator plays a crucial role in this debate, so it was intelligent of you to include that aspect of the literature in your argument.

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  3. Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I agree with how you felt the tones changed and your quotation I felt was really relevant and helpful to us all to understand the argument. I also think he is a saint and your points about him having loyalty to the people was good as well.

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  4. Posted January 9, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I like the quote you chose as it shows that without God Beowulf could not accomplish his feats. I think divine intervention played a key role in the story.

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