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Christian Ideals in Beowulf

            The people of the Shieldings have awakened to face an evil before unknown. A demon roams the land with impunity, destroying and murdering all who stand before him. The people are helpless. "So Grendel waged his lonely war, / inflicting constant cruelties on the people, / atrocious hurt- (Beowulf 36). The stage is set for our hero, Beowulf. At the court of King Arthur, the literary birthplace of chivalry, a barbarian knight issues a challenge to the court. Gawain, Arthur's un-proven nephew, picks up the gauntlet; for his own honor and the honor of the court, the challenge is accepted. In both of these scenarios, the stage set for Christian ideals in time of transition. In comparison with each other, it is evident that in Beowulf, that a Christian author reworded a pagan story to sound Christian, while in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight pagan rituals, and traditions were adapted to create Christian mythology. .
             Before we can compare and contrast the Christian ideals in both of these works, it is necessary first to get some basic background on the plots of the story. In Beowulf, the land of King Hrothgar has been plagued by the vicious attacks of a demon called Grendel. The demon has attacked the kingdom, murdering, and pillaging at will. The kingdom is saved when a great warrior, Beowulf, and his entourage arrive to fight the demon. Beowulf defeats both Grendel and his demon mother in heroic and honorable combat, saving Hrothgar's kingdom. .
             In the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the entrance of a Green Knight interrupts the New Years" celebrations of Camelot. The knight challenges anyone in the court to a beheading game. Alfred David and E. Talbot Donaldson, editors for the Norton Anthology of English Literature, defined the beheading game in the introduction to Sir Gawain, "in which a supernatural challenger offers to let his head be cut off in exchange for a return blow" (156).

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