The Elements of Christianity in Beowulf

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Beowulf introduces a number of religious aspects the entire way through the story such as continuously particularize stating that God is his protector and his savior. For example when Beowulf relates his hard fought and long vital battle with Grendel’s Mother, he states that “the fight would have ended straight away if God had not guarded (protecting) me” this showed that God had helped him through the fight against Grendel’s mother a much stronger being than Beowulf. Then later on being further exemplified and presented and extremely powerfully stated and showed by, “most often has guided the man without friends” there is a feeling of some type of mystical protection permeating or diffusing through all of Beowulf’s actions.

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However, there is also a very strong sense that God’s protection over one must be earned, by being “earned” it means that a warrior such as Beowulf must stay and be true to his values and morals, must be courageous, must be proud, and have a sense of humility and if a warrior successfully does all of these things then and only then will he earn the privilege of God’s protection. This is a prime example of the involvement and the use of the elements of christianity used in Beowulf as Beowulf has to earn God’s protection, as well as keep the elements of christianity in the thick of the storyline. Also dealing with earthly types of protection there is also a sense of, all be it success or wealth or happiness all comes from and is derived from God as he shows his “protection” in a number of ways.

For instance, when Beowulf met Grendel’s mother in the cave and is about to have a battle, on the wall is mounting a great weapon that seemed to be placed there and found by fate or a way that God sent down protection. It is shown as a gift sent down from the heavens in the story because Beowulf does not take credit for this event unfolding instead giving all credit and thanks to God, “But the Wielder of Men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient great sword.” As later on in the piece Hrothgar lets Beowulf know that even the status of one of a king is only achieved and obtained by the one and only grace of God.

When explaining of Heremod, a king who falls to pride and self-worship, Hrothgar tells Beowulf, “he turned away from the joys of men, alone, notorious king, although mighty God had raised him in power, in the joys in strength, had set him up over all men” and once again, “It is a wonder to say how in his great spirit God gives wisdom to mankind land and earlship. As this shows that he (God) has an obscene power over all things. In other words, a king’s earthly type power is only a illusion. The true and biggest most pure power lies in the hands of God. Due to this it is assumed that any delight enjoyed by a man on earth such as wealth, a great meal, happiness, laughter is all through the grace of God who shines his love upon the people. 

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The Elements of Christianity in Beowulf. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from