Thursday, September 19, 2019
Beowulf As Christian Allegory :: Epic of Beowulf Essays
Beowulf As Christian Allegory BeowulfÃ¢â¬â¢s story is somewhat of an allegory in which he is depicted as the Christ figure. The theme of Beowulf is a contrast of good and evil which is manifest in both Christian and pagan elements; Beowulf represents good, while Grendel, his mother, and the dragon represent evil. The first monster our hero, Beowulf, faces is Grendel. Grendel is said to be a descendant of Cain. Ã¢â¬Å"Unhappy creature (Grendel), he lived for a time in the home of the monstersÃ¢â¬â¢ race, after God had condemned them as kin of CainÃ¢â¬ (Norton, 28). Cain is the son of Eve, the woman who bore sin into the world. A connection, however vague, can be made between the maternal relations of Eve and Cain and Grendel and his mother. GrendelÃ¢â¬â¢s mother can be considered to personify manÃ¢â¬â¢s fall from grace and Grendel himself might embody sin. Furthermore, the dragon Beowulf battles can be said to be a picture of Satan: Ã¢â¬Å"the smooth hateful dragon who flies at night wrapped in flameÃ¢â ¬ (56). When facing Grendel, Beowulf relies on God alone to protect him, saying, "Ã¢â¬ ¦may wise God, Holy Lord, assign glory on whichever hand seems good to HimÃ¢â¬ (36). When Beowulf tears off GrendelÃ¢â¬â¢s arm, Hrothgar remarks, Ã¢â¬Å"I endured much from the foe, many griefs from GrendelÃ¢â¬ (39). It could be said that the Christian foe is sin, which causes much grief. Against GrendelÃ¢â¬â¢s mother, original sin, Beowulf becomes the Christian soldier. When Beowulf struggles against GrendelÃ¢â¬â¢s mother, God grants him a precious gift: Ã¢â¬Å"The Wielder of Men granted me that I should see hanging on the wall a fair, ancient, great-sword Ã¢â¬â most often He has guided the man without friends Ã¢â¬â that I should wield the weaponÃ¢â¬ (Norton, 48). This great sword is further described as Ã¢â¬Å"a victory-blessed blade, an old sword made by the giantsÃ¢â¬ ¦ the work of giantsÃ¢â¬ (Norton, 47). The sword used to slay GrendelÃ¢â¬â¢s mother is work of her ancestral giants, who were godly until they fell from grace. Ã¢â¬Å"From (Cain) sprang all bad breeds, trolls and elves and monsters Ã¢â¬â likewise the giants who for a long time strove with GodÃ¢â¬ (Norton, 28). Therefore, the sword was god-forged and godly. Here the hero is using Ã¢â¬Å"the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of GodÃ¢â¬ to prevail (The Book of Ephesians 6.17, Bible). In his battle with the dragon (which may represent Satan) Beowulf is martyred, losing his life in the of the killing the dragon.