The Role of Fate in Beowulf

Length: 5 Pages 1300 Words

The Role of Fate in Beowulf The battle between fate and free will produces a lopsided victory by fate in Beowulf. A continuous reference is directed to fate by context as well as in elements of theme, plot, and character. The most prominent relation to fate is seen with Beowulf. From his early adventures as a warrior to his later rule as king, fate strongly influences Beowulf’s beliefs and courage. He attributes the successful outcomes of his many fights and struggles to the reasons of fate. The lives and outcomes of Beowulf and his enemies are obvious examples of the Beowulf poet showing that God has the power to control everything, resulting in predetermined fate. “Fate goes ever as fate must.”(Line 455)* Fate was a major factor in the life of pagan cultures of any time period. This is well documented in Beowulf, in which a pagan warrior wins because it is his destiny to win, not because of any free will. For instance, “What God judged right would rule what happened to every man, as it does to this day.”(Lines 2858-2859) This is just one of many examples that demonstrate the role of fate in death concerning pagan societies. They believed that a man could not do anything to avoid death, but would rather h Continue...

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It seems as though the story has more effective morals and background because of this. "(Lines 1001-1007) All of these quotes can only suggest that Beowulf is full of Christian ideas. The idea of God and his commanding power on the world, sin, the devil, a final judgment, and the necessity of a belief in God are all referred to. "(Lines 227-228) The Beowulf poet gives the obvious impression that he is of Christian faith. He then has to rely upon his God-given talents in order to survive. If, however, he was fated to live, that would allow him to triumph. He inherited the armors after the "great king" died from his fight with the dragon. As the descendents of Cain, they were determined by fate to be savage outcasts of evil nature. This may be one of the reasons that Beowulf goes to confront the dragon; He feels the pull of fate, and realizes that if it was his time to die, he would die. The idea that a greater being has created the earth is clearly displayed when the poet states "Almighty had made the earth a gleaming plain girdled with waters. Hrothgar was a powerful ruler of his lands when the evils of Grendel jeopardized his fate and position. All of his wisdom and strength as king could not alter the resulting deaths caused by Grendel. Once he does, he finds a giant"tms sword on the wall, and uses it to kill Grendel"tms mother. One of the greatest examples of Christian ideals is when Beowulf heads off to kill Grendel"tms mother. This is interesting since it seems to be at odds with the idea of not being able to know the future because we"tmre still creating our own, yet is still omniscient.


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