Final: Christian Influence &
The story of Beowulf is full of religious references and symbolism, but is it truly a Christian story? According to the narrative, Beowulf is an instrument of God, an instrument of righteousness called by God to perform His will for the Danes. In stark contrast to his good, is the enemy, Grendel, the incarnation of pure evil. These two characters appear to represent the forces of good versus the forces of evil. It would be easy enough to leave the story that way, but it appears that Beowulf is written intentionally to make the main characters appear more important by adding Biblical references to the narrative. By creating characters of a Biblical stature, the story as a whole has an added importance.
This gruesome creature was called Grendel,
notorious prowler of the borderland, ranger of the moors,
the fen and the fastness; this cursed creature
lived in a monster’s lair for a time
after the Creator had condemned him
as one of the seed of Cain – the Everlasting Lord
avenged Abel’s murder. Cain had
no satisfaction from that feud, but the Creator
sent him into exile, far from mankind
because of his crime. He could no
The narrator of Beowulf also believes that this story took on a more heavenly importance. "Yet, so as to save his life, he left behind his hand, his arm and shoulder" (957-959). It is possible that the men who wrote this down were in fact Christian. During this time most of the writings in Latin were Christian, since Christians introduced the language to this area. This seems to point to the New Testament scripture in 1 Peter 5:8 where it says, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. It also could have been changed beforehand while people were passing it down orally, if Christianity had already influenced the region. Maybe it needed to be an important story. Old English also had a similar religious influence. Yet again we could look at this and say wouldn"tmt it be good enough to just say that Beowulf was a really strong and brave warrior. God was even concerned enough to curse Grendel for his atrocities. Adding Christian references to what has been considered by most literary scholars a pagan tale, adds significance to the story in our Christian society, and most certainly added significance to the story in their society. (102-113)Grendel is likened to Cain in this passage, but he seems to show characteristics of the devil as well. When the warriors slept this wicked creature would come and murder them without any remorse. Whoever wrote this down in its final form could have changed the content to reflect his religious beliefs.