God or Fate?
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God or Fate? Beowulf, a beautiful poem of a fearless knight and his three major battles, portrays many Christian as well as pagan ideals. Allusions to Biblical events and talking about God support the Christian aspects of the poem, while idols and fate represent the pagan aspects. Sometimes, the two are combined, while other times the character has strictly Christian or strictly pagan actions. Beowulf himself often sways between the two ideals. One example is as follows: “God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip. (lines 440-441) Just a few lines later, he makes this statement: “Fate will unwind as it must! ” (line 455) Beowulf reminiscence of his harrowing swimming competition is another illustration of his indecisiveness on the matter of God versus fate. “God’s bright beacon appeared in the east… Fate saves the living while they drive away death themselves! ” (lines 569-573) Warthogs and Wigwag tended to have firmly Christian outlooks and actions.
Warthogs continuously gave all the glory o God, and thanked Him for bringing such a mighty warrior as Beowulf to help rid the land of the monsters plaguing it, such as in this quote: “God Himself had sent a sentinel in Hero, brought Beowulf as a guard against Greened and a shield behind whom the king could safely rest. ” (lines 665-668) His faith is also evident in the following quote: “Let God be thanked! Grenade’s terrible anger hung over our heads too long, dropping down misery; but the Almighty makes miracles when He pleases, wonder after wonder, and this world rests in His hands. Lines 928-933) He also gives classic Biblical advice, to “choose, instead, eternal happiness. ” (line 1760). Wigwag shows his Christian qualities during Beowulf last battle. “[Wigwag] remained, stood there, miserable, remembering, as a good man must, what kinship should mean. ” (lines 2600-2601) He was the only soldier to not desert Beowulf while he was fighting the dragon. He also was willing to sacrifice himself to save his king, and jumped into battle with Beowulf.
One of the pagan qualities of the soldiers in this pick is shown when Greened attacks. “They sacrificed to the old stone gods, made heathen vows, hoping for Hell’s support, the Devil’s guidance in driving their affliction off. ” (lines 175-178) Fate also plays a big role in the lives of the people, for example, “He fought with fate against him,” (line 2574). The last pagan quality is portrayed when each person seeks his own vengeance, instead of saving it for God to take care of, is directly against what the Bible says to do.
For example, Beowulf killed Greened cause Greened had been killing townspeople and soldiers for 12 years. In turn, Grenade’s mother killed the king’s best friend. Therefore, Beowulf took matters into his own hands yet again and killed her. These are a few of the examples of religious differences in Beowulf. With a satisfactory balance of good and evil, this poem has the ability to please both pagan and Christian crowds. This epic proves the literary genius of the ancient Britons.