Beowulf, an epic poem, takes place in the 9th centuries; known as the Medieval Ages. Beowulf encounters and clashes against ruthless monsters throughout the story, while alluding to the bible. Many biblical references were portrayed, which can conclude the extent in which Christianity was established. Syncretism is present within the story, which is shown by Beowulf. Beowulf mixes both christian values and pagan traditions. The epic of Beowulf, shows Christian morals, Pagan traditions, and the syncretism in which Christianity ultimately dominates, while Pagan values diminishes.
The appearance of Christianity in Beowulf is alluded within the relationship between Beowulf and Grendel. Beginning with Grendel referencing the evil force; Satan. “Conceived by a pair of these monsters born of Cain, murderous creature banished by God,” (Line 105-107) Cain the firstborn, is a biblical character who was banished by God for his unacceptable act of murder. The use of the mark of Cain on Grendel is referencing the bible; the everlasting curse that punishes the oppressor sevenfold. Grendel was born in the heritage of Cain, bearing the curse. The fact that the mark is directly stated in Beowulf, portrays the degree in which Christianity has been established within paganism. Beowulf in the other hand, was represented as the good force; furthermore, the force that overcomes the presence of the evil “Our holy father has sent him as a sign of his grace, a mark of his favor.” (Line 381-383) Beowulf is conveyed as a Christ like figure, sent from God above; equipped with immense strength and wisdom. Similar to Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Beowulf sacrificed his own life for the greater good of his people. He was well aware of the mark of the Cain on the monster, yet he still chose to fight Grendel for the will of God. The relationship between Beowulf and Grendel can be acknowledged as the relationship between Jesus and Satan. Grendel oppressed the Danes as Satan tempted and drew people of all nation into sin, while Beowulf holds the characteristics of a Savior in saving the Danes from wages of death.
Pagan traditions and values remains uninterrupted in the story Beowulf. The burial of Beowulf differs greatly from the traditional burials. “When the funeral flames has burned me, and build it here, at the water’s edge,” (Line 2803-2804) The burial of Beowulf did not derive from Christian values. However it was obtained from Pagan traditions. Body burning burial was a symbolic practice to prevent the escaping of the deceased soul. Alongside the deceased body, treasures were often stored to represent one’s accomplishments. Paganism is strongly present in the story Beowulf. The act of body burning may not please christians, in fact it can be perceived as a dreadful act. Christian values stand firmly in the belief that the soul will go to either heaven or hell. The act of gift giving is also a pagan tradition. “Richly rewarded in front of them all. No ring-giver has...