Christian influences of beowulf
Christian Influences in Beowulf In the epic Beowulf , the story was translated by two scribes, A and B, into the manuscript that we read today. Because these scribes were monks, there are a great many Christian influences throughout the translation. In the “Wrath of Grendel,” early in the story we see a perfect example. Grendel is irritated by the music he hears coming from Herot, Hrothgar’s “golden” mead hall. The “harps rejoicing/Call and the poet’s clear songs, sung/Of the ancient beginnings of us all, recalling/
The Almighty making the earth, shaping/These beautiful plains marked off by oceans,/Then proudly setting the sun and moon/To glow across the land and light it…”(3-10). The Anglo-Saxon culture embraces virtues such as courage, strength, loyalty, cunning, and generosity. The epic hero Beowulf exemplifies these virtues. Beowulf possesses each of these characteristics. Throughout the epic tale of Beowulf, the hero displays each of these virtues through his actions and adventures.
The first of these characteristics is Beowulf’s strength. He is often referred to as “the strongest of the Geats”. Beowulf displays this great strength when he faces Grendel. Grendel had caused great losses to the Danes, but Beowulf vows to defeat him unarmed. Beowulf indeed defeats Grendel without arms, and displays his overwhelming strength. During the encounter, it is stated, “the captain of evil discovered himself in a handgrip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man on the face of the earth” (p. 648). Another display of Beowulf’s strength is the fact that he rips Grendel’s arm completely off, when Grendel was trying to escape. The next virtue displayed by Beowulf is courage. He was fearless of all, and displayed this courage throughout the epic tale. The first display of courage was the fact that he was willing to fight Grendel. Grendel was terrorizing a neighboring country and Beowulf elected to rid the country of the menace. Not only did he fight Grendel, but he did it with unarmed hands.
Another tale of Beowulf’s courage was when he chose to fight the dragon. He was an older man, but he vowed to protect his people. It is stated that he says, “I risked my life often when I was young. Now I am old, but as king of the people. I shall pursue this fight for the glory of winning…” (p. 1688). Although Beowulf seems to know what lies ahead, he fights the dragon anyway. Another characteristic of Beowulf is loyalty. While Beowulf displays loyalty to his people by fighting the dragon, he also displays loyalty toward “Hyglac” (his uncle)