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Beowulf's Christian/Pagan Imagery

            Beowulf is an epic, though is often overlooked as not being a true epic according to some scholars. This epic, however, is an undeniable example of the hybrid of Christian and Pagan imagery. In several parts throughout the story, Beowulf seems at odds between being a Christian, being chivalrous, and keeping Pagan traditions, and project plenty of examples of both values.
             Though he is Christian, he cannot, and does not seem to want to, deny the fundamental pagan values of the story. Although Beowulf most likely began as such a pagan epic, it eventually was expanded to include Christian elements, with some of the blame placed on the several different rewrites and interpretations over the centuries. In both tales, pagan or classical allusions, in contrast to Christian allusions, are used in reference to that which is fallen or damned. There is a constant prevalence of the world's even in Beowulf, the good that fights it, and this is represented by Hrothgar, Beowulf, and the Satanic trinity of the three monsters. Hrothgar is the king figure who calls on a hero, Beowulf, to defeat the evil, Grendel and the dragon, that threatens to destroy the paradise created, much like a biblical story. Hrothgar is an ideal wise and peaceful ruler like God; he does not directly participate in the violence of the world and gives freely to those who serve him. This parallel is strongest in each king's desire to construct a safe haven for those under their protection. Beowulf, in a like manner, is also seen as a traditional epic hero. Although he has not created a new world as Christ has done, Beowulf has performed extraordinary deeds, and "bloodied by enemies where I crushed down five, / killed a tribe of giants, and on the waves at night / slew water-beasts" Even though Beowulf possesses spiritual strength, he isn't particularly concerned with the Christian virtues. He wants to help people, in a Christian way, but his motivation for doing so is complicated.

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