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A Masterpiece From a Masterpiece

            "When he wielded a sword, no matter how blooded and hard-edged the blade his hand was too strong, the stroke he dealt (I have learned) would ruin it. He could reap no advantage- (Heaney 181). The epic poem Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney tells the story of a hero named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of many monsters. This Anglo-Saxon story has become one of the most important Old English pieces. Throughout the epic, the Anglo-Saxon story teller uses many elements to build a certain depth to the characters. One of the many themes of the story is Biblical against Paganistic.
             Throughout history, this book has been translated many times, however, the themes of the book have for the most part stayed the same. Through time the rewriting and touching up by various sources causes the characters to portray more Christian characteristics. Seamus Heaney uses both Biblical and Paganistic views throughout the story to describe certain things. Grendel is Biblically and Paganistically described in this excerpt:.
             So times were pleasant for the people there.
             until finally one, a fiend out of hell,.
             began to work his evil in the world.
             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.
             And condemned as outcasts. For the killing of Abel.
             The Eternal Lord had exacted a price: (Heaney 9).
             The Biblical reference in the epic serves to give the reader an idea of the extent of Grendel's evil declared to him because of the past. The Paganistic views are used to help the reader by trying to give a logical explanation for Grendel's murderous behavior. This type of writing is exhibited well within the whole book.
             In this the epic poem there are many characters introduced. There are three dynasties from which of the characters come from: the Danes, the Geats, and the Swedes.

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