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Throughout this poem, there are many contrasting ideas regarding certain issues, but the two most ironic are the Christian and Pagan themes. During the progression of this story, the characters display actions that lead to different types of beliefs. Although the people in this story had a firm faith in God, terrible events caused them to turn toward the consequences of paganism. The themes mostly discussed are death, revenge, and material wealth.

In Beowulf, the first theme discussed is death. According to Beowulf, “He could not in the world, much as he wished, keep any life in the old spear-leader nor change the course of the Ruler’s will. The judgment of God then ruled the deed of every man as He still does now.” [Lines 2855-2859] Looking deeper into this quote, Beowulf’s death has been predetermined by his actions on this earth. The Christian religion has the firm belief that God is in control of his followers’ lives on this earth. According to Job 14:5, “The days of humans are determined; you have decreed the number of months and have set limits they cannot exceed.” Although this is the case in Scripture, the story of Beowulf takes an opposing direction. God is no longer in control of his actions, but rather Beowulf’s actions determine his fate. Throughout the story, Beowulf is constantly testing how his fate will be determined. Whether he lived or died was not one of his greatest worries. On Beowulf’s deathbed, he was unaware of how displaying courage through others after him would carry on his legacy.

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The second theme discussed in Beowulf is regarding revenge. According to Beowulf, “[Grendel’s] mother had sallied forth on a savage journey, / grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge” (Beowulf, 1276-1278). Looking deeper into this quote causes deeper thoughts regarding other characters in the story who wish to seek revenge on others who had harmed them in some way. Although it is quite common in this story to pay off a deed done by an opposing offender, this poem takes a different turn. No matter which character attempts to make amends and keep the peace, it slowly falls to pieces by a character’s desire to avenge those they love. The Christian religion has a firm stance on not making rash decisions when another has harmed them in some way. According to Leviticus 19:18, “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone amongst your people but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” This shows how the characters in this poem would have acted on the Christian belief rather than giving into the emotions of Paganism.

The third theme discussed in Beowulf is regarding material wealth. Look up the line number for the quote in this paragraph!! According to Beowulf, “His father’s warrior was wound round his heart/With golden rings, bound to their prince/By his father’s treasure. So young men build/ The future, wisely open-handed in peace/ Protected in war; so, warriors earn/Their fame, and wealth is shaped with a sword.” (Page 24) Throughout the story, kings, heroes, and other powerful figures strive to seek a strong reputation by what is inherited to them, and what they have earned on their own accord. An analogy used in this poem is how respect earned from one man to another is also a sign of material wealth. The privilege of knowing that the heritage these kings have worked so hard to obtain will be passed down to those who can be trusted is also a sign of wealth. Although the story of Beowulf uses material wealth as a sign of gain, the Christian belief uses wealth gained in the spiritual realm as a greater gain than what could ever be obtained on Earth. According to Matthew 6:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” This is a great comparison of how although material possessions may not be as many on Earth, treasures can be stored for us when arriving in Heaven. It is amazing to think how if the characters in this story had adopted this line of thinking, the outcome would have turned out differently.

In conclusion, there are three major themes in Beowulf death, revenge, and material wealth. Each of these themes discusses different aspects of the Pagan and Christian beliefs. This book was written by an anonymous author who lived during a Christian period in England. The setting of the story was in Denmark Sweden during the 6th century. Citizens of this country conform to the Pagan way of thinking, so it is understandable why the author wrote the story using the language of this religion. With this being said, it explains how each of the themes discussed in the paper can be correlated with the Christian religion. The characters in this story chose to use the Pagan mechanisms for handling issues within their society. At the beginning of the poem, the characters held a firm belief in God and trusted Him to handle all of their issues. But as the times became harder to bear, each individual reverted to their old way of thinking to “solve” the issues within their society. Death, revenge, and material wealth have a deep spin in this story, and one can see why those in the story work so hard to obtain possessions and protect those they love. But looking deeper into what Scripture says regarding these issues. God tells us how we can handle the same situations in a completely different manner. Not only can we love deeper but have the opportunity to obtain greater wealth than possible on our own. Choosing these three themes to discuss, has allowed knowledge to be obtained in deeper ways than before. Not only are these issues still going to be handled using a Pagan way of thinking, but using the mindset God desires will benefit each of us.

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