Christianity in "Beowulf" Book Review

Christianity in "Beowulf"
An analysis of the theme of Christianity in the epic poem "Beowulf".
# 112899 | 816 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on Mar 12, 2009 in Literature (World) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses how, in the ancient epic poem "Beowulf", we find a character named Beowulf, who, at first glance, appears to be very Christian. The paper relates that the character of Beowulf frequently praises God and gives thanks to Him, yet the reader gets the feeling that something is not quite right. It seems that Beowulf's Christianity runs only skin deep, because he is very violent and boastful. The paper then examines how the debate over this subject, as well as the identity of the author of Beowulf, has raged for countless years. The paper asserts that, though Beowulf was almost undoubtedly not a Christian, there is indisputable evidence that proves that the author of "Beowulf" was.

From the Paper:

"Though the author does not mention Jesus Christ by name a single time throughout the entire poem, he clearly compares Beowulf to him indirectly in multiple instances during the tale. For starters, just as Jesus descends into hell to battle Satan, Beowulf descends into a sort of Hell lair to fight Grendel's Mother. Just as Beowulf was beaten by other Hell dwelling monsters during his fight with Grendel's mother, Jesus was spat upon and laughed at by crowds at his crucifiction. Jesus was sent to earth to complete a task that no one else could complete: To save humanity through his own sacrifice. Similarly, Beowulf comes to Heorot to complete a task which no one else could, namely defeating Grendel. "Now Holy God has, in His goodness, guided him here to the West-Danes, to defend us from Grendel" (Beowulf 382-4) This quote even alludes to Beowulf being some sort of God commisioned savior for Hrothgar, just as Jesus was for mankind. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Simon Hall, "Beowulf: New Light on the Dark Ages," History Today Dec. 1998: 4, Questia, 7 Dec. 2008 <>
  • The Holy Bible, King James Version, 1611
  • Sarah Lawall, The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Volume B

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