?Annabelle Shumann Mr. Krause AP Literature 29 August 2013 How is religion and morals intertwined in Beowulf? In Beowulf, the poet uses religion to shape the morals and thoughts of the community on Beowulf and Grendel. The poet portrays a universal belief that there is a good and an evil, which originated from the Bible. Beowulf is considered a good, honorable hero, who comes from a distant land to help the Danes fight off an evil monster. Beowulf’s virtuous acts result in his loyal and honorable reputation.
He tells a story of a swimming competition with an old friend, Breca. Breca wasn’t able to keep up with Beowulf, so Beowulf had to fight off many sea monsters and loose the competition because he didn’t want to leave Breca. Beowulf does these acts of kindness because he follows the morals he was raised to believe, which God originally created. Beowulf is thought of as God’s gift, and believes He is always protecting Beowulf. When Beowful talks about his battle with Grendels mother, he states “The fight would have ended straightaway if God had not guarded me” (1. 4).
The continuous mention of God in Beowulf portrays that the poet uses him to depict good through out the poem. Where as when he uses Grendel as a descendent of Cain, he is trying to show the evil that comes from the Bible, and the religion that the Danes believe in. When the poet introduces Grendel, he makes it clear to the reader that he is evil and frowned upon, “Grendel was the name of this grim demon? haunting the marches, marauding round the heath? and the desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time? in misery among the banished monsters,? Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed? nd condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel? the Eternal Lord had exacted a price:? Cain got no good from committing that murder? because the Almighty made him anathema. ”(102-112). Grendel spontaneously attacks innocent people out of jealousy and savageness. The constant battle between Beowulf and Grendel is depicting the fight between what is morally thought as of good and evil. Grendel, being the most ultimate evil demon, is defeated by the enormous powers of good. In Beowulf, religion plays the role of defining good against evil, and how people perceive the two.