Christian Elements In Beowulf


The praised epic poem, Beowulf, is the first great heroic poem in English literature. The epic follows a courageous warrior named Beowulf throughout his young, adult life and into his old age. As a young man, Beowulf becomes a legendary hero when he saves the land of the Danes from the hellish creatures, Grendel and his mother. Later, after fifty years pass, Beowulf is an old man and a great king of the Geats. A monstrous dragon soon invades his peaceful kingdom and he defends his people courageously, dying in the process. His body is burned and his ashes are placed in a cave by the sea. By placing his ashes in the seaside cave, people passing by will always remember the legendary ...

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when a written tradition was introduced they began to write the story down on tablets.
The old tale was not first told or invented by the commonly known, Beowulf poet. This is clear from investigations of the folk lore analogues. The manuscript was written by two scribes around AD 1000 in late West Saxon, the literary dialect of that period. It is believed that the scribes who put the old materials together into their present form were Christians and that his poem reflects a Christian tradition. The first scribe copied three prose pieces and the first 1,939 lines of Beowulf while the second scribe copied the rest of Beowulf and Judith. In 1731, a fire swept through the Cottonian Library, damaging many books and scorching the Beowulf codex. In 1786-87, after the manuscript had been deposited in the British Museum the Icelander, Grinur Jonsson Thorkelin, made two transcriptions of the poem for what was to be the first edition, in 1815 (Clark, 112-15).
Beowulf is a mixture of ...

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He is a creature dwelling in the outer darkness, a giant and cannibal. When he crawls off to die, he is said to join the route of devils in hell. The story of a race of demonic monsters and giants descended from Cain. It came form a tradition established by the apocryphal Book of Enoch and early Jewish and Christian interpretations of Genesis 6:4, “There were giants in the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God had relations with the daughters of men, who bore children to them” (Holland Crossley, 15).
Many of Grendel’s appellations are unquestionable epithets of Satan such as “enemy of mankind,” “God’s adversary,” “the devil in hell,” and “the hell slave.” ...

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Added: 2/4/2006 08:54:04 AM
Category: English
Words: 2044
Pages: 8

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