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Beowulf Pagan or Christian Epic

Beowulf: Pagan or Christian Epic? Although the story of Beowulf is filled with references to religion and faith, many discrepancies occur throughout the story that suggest that Beowulf is not a Christian epic. Thecharacter of Beowulf frequently speaks to God and obviously believes in His existence. However, pagan practices are mentioned in several places. Beowulf often refers to anotherbeing rather than the Christian God. Pagan practices of cremation and blood-drinking areincluded in the epic. There are also frequent allusions to the power of fate, the motive ofblood revenge, and praise of worldly glory. All of these aspects make Beowulf a pagan talewith a few Christian elements. A key pagan reference in Beowulf is the entity Wyrd. Now if Wyrd, Ruler of All, willpermit, my stout sword will sing its greedy war-song....Wyrd always weaves as it must (p.410). The Christian tradition clearly states the existence of only one supreme entity. It alsostates that anyone worshipping false idols is subject to punishment. If Beowulf was truly aChristian, he would not call to Wyrd for any type of assistance. One might argue thatreferring to Wyrd as Ruler of All suggests that this entity is the Christian God. But Godis referred to throughout the epic. For Grendel bore Gods anger...Mighty God rules mortalsforever! (p. 393). These are two separate entities that serve different functions throughoutthe epic. A true Christian tale would not include any other God or all-powerful being ratherthan the one true God of the Christian teachings. The story also mentions that Hrothgar andhis people make sacrifices to idols in an attempt to overcome the monster Grendel. And so itcame to pass that the Dane-folk gathered in the heathen temples. And there, they offeredsacrifices to their idols (p.388). Instead of praying to the Christian God for support, theymake sacrifices to pagan idols. Baskin 2A second pagan reference concerns the m...

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