The Perfect Villain/Hero: Grendel’s Perspective in Beowulf

“Once upon a time, someone decided that we were the losers. But there are two sides to every story. And our side has not been told!” says Prince Charming to a room full of “villains” who are left to rot after their adversaries were given “happily ever after” (Shrek the Third). They feel wronged, and justifiably so. Why are they labeled the “bad guys?” How is the hero of a story determined? Is he the victim of fate, against whom all odds are set? The one who fights for their glory and the honor of their ancestors, no matter what the cost? Or, as Norse mythology would say, the one who fights the hardest, but still comes up short (Hamilton 443)? What about the villain? After all, there must be someone for the hero to fight against, an adversary. But how can one tell the difference? In Beowulf, it is almost universally accepted that Beowulf is the hero meant to defeat the villain, Grendel. But a close look at the story reveals the rarely told tale of Grendel, who despite dishonor and pain still fights to right the wrongs done to him and his ancestors. He follows a traditional Norse hero pattern, fighting to the last of his strength, but ultimately coming up short. When Beowulf is explored from Grendel’s point of view, it becomes apparent that the division between hero and villain lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Grendel’s life prior to the story can be seen as tragic and cruel by most standards. From the beginning, he has been an outcast of the world, for no greater crime than his existence. His “whole ancestry is hidden in a past / of demons and ghosts” (Heaney 1356-7). Immediately he is set as inferior to men, since it is said he has no father. In Medieval Norse society, a person’s identity was based so heavily on their father, that to claim someone does not have one is to steal an element of their individuality. He was also from “Cain’s clan, whom the creator had outlawed/ and condemned as outcast” (Heaney 106-107). Cain, who had killed his brother Abel in the early days of creation, had doomed himself and his descendants to be “a fugitive and a wanderer” (Coogan Gen 4:12). Grendel has no control over his ancestry, yet because of their crimes he daily suffers the hatred of not only humanity, but also the divine. God, “the creator,” has turned his back on Grendel, making his life a living hell. Now he is reduced to “dwell[ing] for a time/ in misery among the banished monsters” (Heaney 104-5). For company, Grendel has only those more lonely and dejected than himself. He is not welcome among more civilized crowds. It is from these humble and humiliating beginnings that a hero is formed. It is in Grendel’s already lowly position that insult is added to injury. Grendel’s peace is disrupted daily by “the din of the loud banquet” that occurs every night from “Heorot,” the drinking hall of King Hrothgar (Heaney 88). Even the author of the poem, who seems to side with the Danes, implies the noise created by the celebration is excessive. What are they celebrating? The very thing that cuts Grendel to the quick. They sing “of man’s beginnings,/ how the Almighty had made the earth/ a gleaming plain girdled with waters” (Heaney 91-3). They hearken back to that time before Cain had fallen, of everything that Grendel and his ancestors had lost – the beautifully created plains and waters, the favor of God. For this beauty that man now enjoys alone, the Danes are praising the God who has banished Grendel to his life of misery. The Danes even have the nerve to sing of it as their own glorious beginning, without a thought for those to whom the last little bit of paradise has been taken. Such bitter memories aroused in such an unpleasant manner are enough to upset anyone.

This arrogance on the part of the Danes in the face of Grendel’s misfortune causes Grendel to seek out justice. In the face of such insult, what is there left for Grendel to do? In the world of the medieval Scandinavia, it would be cowardly to let such injustice slide. Grendel takes the only option that will not lead him to disgrace. He fights back savagely, killing many. Victory is almost his. He would be able to avenge not only his own plight, but also that of every demon that has come before him. He becomes the champion of the demons. Grendel is able to destroy that wretched mead hall, something that “no Shielding elder would believe/ there was any power or person upon the earth capable of wrecking” (Heaney 777-9). It was an ornate, human built structure where men were merry in their pride and power. The Danes had thought it indestructible. But is seems Grendel is about to succeed. No one can hurt him, since “no blade on earth…could ever damage their demon opponent” (Heaney 801-2). After all of these years, justice will be served, as seen by the seemingly mystical protection that surrounds Grendel. Grendel seems to have the victory finally, and rightfully, secured. But in true Norse fashion, Grendel comes up just short of victory. For where many men fail, one man with an iron grip is able to outlast even Grendel. For “Beowulf was granted/ the glory of winning; Grendel was driven under the fen-banks” (Heaney 818-9). In the end, Grendel has gained little honor and lost so much more. He dies in disgrace, driven from the hall, while his adversary is honored with more drink and fine jewels. Beowulf, is rewarded with yet another feast, so big that “no group ever gathered in bigger numbers” (Heaney 1010). The whole of the Earth is celebrating Grendel’s pain. The champion of the demons has fallen to a meddler. The victor could hardly be less deserving of such honor.

Though orphaned at a young age, Beowulf grew up in the care of the king, treated “no worse…than one of his own boys” (Heaney 2432-3). Unlike Grendel, Beowulf has had every advantage in life. He has been treated well by his adopted parents and has never been shunned or isolated. Even when he was little, he had a place of honor among mortals. His family is also without shame. Though Beowulf might not know his real father, his father’s glory still lives on in him. He is often called “son of Ecgtheow,” passing the father’s honor onto the son. Before Beowulf can even walk, he has respect from his ancestry of warriors, something that Grendel could not even imagine. Beowulf has nothing to redeem and little to prove. He is simply a giant bully, fighting for the sake of fighting. It is to this unworthy man that Grendel falls. The fact that Beowulf will be honored for generations to come is the icing on the cake of Grendel’s tragic story.

Despite the story’s clear bias to Beowulf as the hero (his name is the title of the story after all), upon closer inspection it becomes clear that in the Norse tradition, the true tragic hero is Grendel. Grendel fights to redeem his ancestry and his past, challenging the humans who have shunned him for years in order to gain back the respect that was once lost. Unfortunately, he is unable to gain the justice he seeks so desperately. Instead, he is forced to leave in disgrace, and be forever remembered as the evil demon who almost destroyed the Danes. It is only through close investigation that the plight of Grendel comes into focus. Before making a judgment of who are the heroes and the villains, it is important to hear both sides of the story.

Works Cited

Coogan, Michael David. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version, with the Apocrypha : An Ecumenical Study Bible. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print. Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Boston: Back Bay, 1998. Print. Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2001. Print.

A Severed Arm and a Mother’s Fury

An often-explored trope of both contemporary and classic literature is the utilization of somewhat morbid imagery to further a narrative or perhaps convey an underlying message in a vividly grotesque manner. One such example can be found within the English poem Beowulf during a scene where the eponymous character defeats the macabre monster Grendel by tearing his arm off in hand-to-hand combat: “…a tremendous wound appeared on [Grendel’s] shoulder. Sinews split and the bone-lappings burst. Beowulf was granted the glory of winning” (lines 815-820). What strikes me particularly profoundly is the specificity with which this inflicted wound is described. The references to tearing sinew and burst bone-lappings provide the reader with a harrowing image of brutality. Today we have a plethora of mediums delineating all manner of barbarism, from frenetic video games such as Grand Theft Auto that simply suit the palate of the sadist to serious narrative films such as Quest for Fire where violence is used heavily to advance the story. While we may have those and plenty of others, the people of Old England would have relied much more on the significance of violent imagery within written works like Beowulf. Emphasis of this aforementioned imagery can be found in the application of the adjective ‘tremendous.’ The Oxford English Dictionary details the word as follows: “hyperbolically, or as a mere intensive: Such as to excite wonder on account of its magnitude or violence; astounding; extraordinarily great; immense” (“Tremendous”). Given that this definition explicitly references violence and that the word ‘tremendous’ is being used to illustrate a scene of violence, it would be relatively reasonable to deduce that the usage of the word within Beowulf was a conscious effort on the part of the writer to create an instance of peculiar emphasis to grab the reader’s attention in a manner not dissimilar to the way Beowulf grabbed Grendel by the arm.

Another occurrence of brutish symbolism in Beowulf might perhaps be found in the scene with “…the hand [Beowulf] displayed high up near the roof [of Hrothgar’s hall]: the whole of Grendel’s shoulder and arm, his awesome grasp” (lines 832-835). The arm is often seen as a source of strength, take for example the image of a muscular arm used on Arm & Hammer household products. The severing and subsequent display of Grendel’s arm can easily be interpreted as a severing of the strength of evil and the display of the prowess of good. A graduate thesis by Scott White of Utah State University suggests that severed limbs in narratives “represent lost humanity” (White vi). Being that Grendel is described as inhuman within Beowulf, the claim made by White holds relevance. Further bolstering this claim is the idea that Grendel’s arm on display might also abstractly represent a slow disappearance of humanity and slight presence of savagery in the character of Beowulf himself.

While undoubtedly a noble warrior, Beowulf is still human and thus remains highly subject to certain human desires and feral inclinations. A dissection of Beowulf’s macabre elements would be incomplete without bring up Grendel’s mother. Contrary to the salaciously sensual portrayal by Angelina Jolie in the cinematic adaptation of Beowulf, the original text details Grendel’s mother the way a grindhouse flick would describe its arch-villain: “[Beowulf] observed that swamp-thing from hell / the tarn-hag in all her terrible strength” (Beowulf lines 1518-1519). Much like with Grendel, the poem is describing his mother with inhuman, and in this case, somewhat hellish characteristics. Perhaps this is done purposely in order to sharpen further the contrast between good and evil in the poem. What sticks out about this specific passage is the referring to of Grendel’s mother as a “swamp-thing from hell.” The common assumption of Hell is that it’s a place of fire and brimstone where the wicked, wrongdoers, and otherwise unrepentant souls are sent for an eternity of damnation. Not exactly the type of place you’d associate with a creature of the swamp. The writer here is likely attempting to articulate that Hell can exist beyond the standard assumption as a place of pain or the residence of a being that inflicts it. Similarly to Grendel, his mother meets a violent end, though she dies by a blade wielded by Beowulf as “a resolute blow…bit deep into her neck-bone / and severed it entirely, toppling the doomed house of her flesh” (Beowulf lines 1565-1566). Here we have another reference to severance as well as barbarity being implemented as a storytelling device to advance the plot.

Another speculation worth considering and explicating is the idea that Grendel’s mother is being personified so voraciously as to violently illustrate the feelings of seething vengeance possessed by a mother experiencing the loss of her child. Take away the thing loved most by a mother and you’re left with this love being channeled into savage, wanton retribution. Going back to an earlier point raised about how severed hands can represent severed humanity in literary narratives, Grendel could be elucidated as the hand of his mother. His death represents severance from his mother, leaving his mother completely devoid of even a fathom of humanity and filled to the brim with nothing but vicious hellfire.

Household products, infuriated mothers, and flying limbs aside, perhaps it would be best to tie reference to something with staunch relevance to the period in which Beowulf was written. The Bible states: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will reign over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath.” (Holy Bible, Ezek. 20.33). How this relates back to Beowulf is fairly straightforward: Beowulf defeated Grendel with his hands and, later in the poem, became king in his homeland. In the context of this passage, the character of Beowulf could be seen as a parable of God by way of showing the strength of his hand to defeat Grendel while the poem has Grendel serving as a crude personification of evil especially given that the character of Grendel is a descendent of Cain. For those unfamiliar with the Biblical context, Cain was the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother and was consequently banished by God to a life of roaming. Building off of this discussion of Biblical reference, Beowulf is believed to have been written between 700 and 1000 AD. This is fairly near the time that Anglo-Saxon England began converting from Paganism to Christianity. “The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons…began at the end of the 6th century and was completed [near] the second half of the 7th century” (“Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity”). Given that Christianity was fresh and fervent in the minds of folk at the time, the Biblical elements sprinkled throughout Beowulf appear as more than mere coincidence. While today we have a constantly evolving variety of mediums and storytelling mechanics, the utilization of malformed imagery as a means of striking raw emotion into viewers and readers alike has remained a constant and formidable force throughout the ages. Shock value works far beyond the concept of brutal violence for the sake of more brutal violence. Whether it be the symbolism behind a severed arm or the twisted, gnarled appearance of something that is supposed to serve as a maternal figure, the elements of shock and horror that permeate Beowulf serve profoundly as a means of using bits and pieces of gruesome details to stick out to the reader and advance the progression of the narrative.

Works Cited

“Beowulf.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 41-108. Print.

“Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.” The History of England, The History of England, 2010, www.england-history.org/2012/10/conversion-of-the-anglo-saxons-to-christianity/.

Holy Bible. New International Version. Zondervan, 2015.

“Tremendous, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2017. Web. 17 September 2017.

White, Scott, “Severed Hands as Symbols of Humanity in Legend and Popular Narratives.” 2014. All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3556. Web.

Examining Allegory: A Versatile Concept in Beowulf, Everyman, and Mother!

Throughout early English literature as well as modern stories of various mediums, a popular literary device is that of allegory. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes allegory as “the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence” (“Allegory”). Essentially, allegory is the implementation of symbols and metaphors as a means of progressing the narrative in a story or relaying a message of sorts. Two potent examples of allegory can be found in the epic Beowulf as well as the morality play, Everyman. A recent example of this storytelling mechanic can be found in the form of Darren Aronofsky’s film, Mother!, which will be discussed later in this essay. While Beowulf adopts pointed instances of symbolism and allegorical concepts, the entirety of Everyman utilizes allegory by way of personifying mankind’s deeds and struggles.

Perhaps the most profound allegorical elements of Beowulf are Grendel and his mother. Grendel is a descendent of Cain while his mother can be interpreted as a personification of original sin. Elaborating on the idea of the allegorical relationship between Grendel and Cain, take a look at the similarities of their respective origins between the Bible and Beowulf. In the book of Genesis, Cain is exiled by God to the land of Nod for murdering his brother: “…what hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood cries unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth…when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth” (Holy Bible Genesis 4:10-12). Here we have Cain marked as a figure of maliciousness. Beowulf references this Biblical text describing Grendel as “[having] dwelt for a time / in misery among the banished monsters, / Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts” (lines 104-107). The fact that Beowulf explicitly references this text reinforces the idea that Grendel was written in as a beast of Cain and manifestation of evil.

A crude textual example of symbolism within Beowulf occurs at a point in the story where Beowulf defeats Grendel in combat: “Clear proof of this [victory] / could be seen in the hand [Beowulf] displayed / high up near the roof [of Hrothgar’s mead hall]: the whole of Grendel’s / shoulder and arm, his awesome grasp” (lines 832-835). We commonly associate arms and shoulders as symbols of brawn and perhaps braggadocio. Grendel spent much of his time terrorizing people in a show of strength, solely due to his disdain for merriment. Given that Beowulf quite literally tore off his arm, Grendel’s physical prowess as well as his innate ability to inflict terror has effectively been silenced. One aspect of this passage that stood out to me was that Grendel’s grasp is referred to as ‘awesome.’ A close synonym to the word ‘awesome’ is ‘fearsome,’ which simply means “[to cause] fear” (“Fearsome”). The decision to use ‘awesome’ to describe Grendel’s grasp could be seen as a conscious decision on the part of the author to insinuate that even though Grendel was defeated, his grasp of terror still has lingering effects.

Now let’s examine Grendel’s mother. Immediately we have another point of similarity between Beowulf and the Bible: Grendel’s mother and Eve both brought various sins into the world; Eve gave birth to Cain and wrought about original sin into the world by disobeying God. In the case of Grendel’s mother, Beowulf describes her as a “monstrous hell-bride, brooded on her wrongs” (line 1259). Nothing the parallels between Eve and Grendel’s mother, it wouldn’t be too far-out to suggest that Grendel’s mother is a relative of Eve depicted as ‘monstrous’ on account of her being malformed by sin.

Near the end of Beowulf, there remains another instance of allegory that appears as a dragon, specifically a “slick-skinned dragon, threatening the night sky / with streamers of fire… / He is driven to hunt out / hoards underground, to guard heathen gold…” (lines 2273-2276). This creatures is meant to represent Satan being that it spends its days guarding swaths of ‘heathen’ treasure. It would seem likely that J.R.R. Tolkien borrowed parts of this character from Beowulf as inspiration for the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit. Beowulf ends up defeating the dragon at the expense of his own life, which could in turn read as an exegesis of Christ sacrificing himself for the sins of mankind.

Possibly a more straightforward example of allegory can be found in Everyman. A prime example of the classic morality play, Everyman personifies the personality traits of man and allegorizes the character of Everyman as a symbol for all of mankind. Contrary to other morality plays of the time, Everyman trades crude humor for a more “straight-to-the-point” conversation on salvation. The point being, Everyman presents itself as a digestible means of addressing complex thoughts on spirituality. Allegory within the play presents itself most significantly toward the end, where the character Good Deeds discusses the negativity of holding earthly desires: “All earthly things is but vanity. / Beauty, Strength, and Discretion do man forsake. / Foolish friends and kinsmen that fair spake— / All fleeth save Good Deeds, and that am I” (lines 869-872). Within this passage, the play is floating the idea that enshrining yourself with earthly ideals leads only to abandonment; the good you have done throughout your life is the only thing that won’t come back to bite you in the rear. Everyman depicts mankind’s earthly wants sort of as a gang of flakey friends that man must be willing to rid himself of in order to attain salvation and enter Heaven.

Fast-forward to 2017. While some cast it off as absurd, a discerning viewer can easily spot bits of allegory in Darren Aronofsky’s divisive film Mother!. The story centers around a couple, referred to respectively as Mother and Him (they are otherwise unnamed), who lead a tranquil, if isolated life. Him is a poet who is suffering from a major bout of writer’s block. Mother is Him’s unconditional muse and support. Shortly into the film, uninvited guests start creeping into Mother and Him’s household. In a nutshell, all Hell breaks loose. The allegory in Mother! is fairly easy to decipher: “[the film] is about Mother Earth…and God [Him]…the house represents our planet” (Ryzik par 15). While the film might appear as abstract or perhaps pretentious on the surface, it actually does well to paint a potent metaphor for the destruction we wreak about on our planet. The reason Mother has been included within this essay is because of the necessity to discuss the contemporary application of allegory as it can aid the otherwise perplexed reader in developing a clearer understanding of its use. Whether it be in classical literature or modern film, allegory and symbolism have remained popular methods of boiling down otherwise dense material.

Throughout Beowulf, symbolism is implemented to effectively illustrate the victory of good over evil. Everyman serves as a lesson in what man must do to attain salvation through the use of allegorical characters. In the contemporary realm, the film Mother elucidates the destruction we often unknowingly bring upon the environment. Some might view allegory as little more than a hoity-toity ego trip for the writer’s own gratification, but the fact remains that it is a highly potent way to present difficult subject matter and relay a relevant message to an otherwise casual, unassuming audience.

Works Cited

“Allegory.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2017.

“Fearsome.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2017.

“Beowulf.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 41-108. Print. “Everyman.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 507-529. Print.

Holy Bible. King James Version. Zondervan, 2010.

Ryzik, Melena. “Making ‘Mother!,’ the Year’s Most Divisive Film.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/19/movies/jennifer-lawrence-darren-aronofsky-mother-explained.html.

Beowulf and The Seafarer: The Stories of Fate in God, Glory, & The Sea

A former president of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman, had once said, “actions are the seed of fate; deeds grow into destiny.” This quote can also be contributed to two of the famous Anglo-Saxon tales, Beowulf and The Seafarer. In these two stories, one can find two contrasting beliefs in fate and the sea from the story’s main characters. Beowulf is acquiescent to fate and is humble before the force of the sea, whereas the narrator of The Seafarer is fearful of the powers of fate and the sea is unwilling to accept them. Beowulf and the narrator of the Seafarer both believed in fate, as they were willingly about to put their lives in peril. Both characters acted out in bravery; Beowulf (the hero of Hrothgar’s kingdom) when he knew he was going to die before defeating the dragon (who was very boastful when he came to fight), and the Seafarer (the narrator who tells his tale at sea), when he would go out to sea and began to tell his adventures. This reoccurring theme of fate endures vast importance to both stories, as it forms significant values to these characters and the actions the make throughout the tales.

In the story Beowulf, the main character (being Beowulf) is seen for his miraculous deeds of saving King Hrothgar’s kingdom. Through his actions throughout the tale, Beowulf gives himself a godly appearance, ending the lives of several villains such as Grendel and his mother. In this case, he believes that God and the presence of fate work together. He vaunts of his encounters with the monstrous sea-creatures, saying, “I treated them politely. . . Offering the edge of my razor-sharp sword.” This statement reveals Beowulf’s unassailable bumptiousness and self-confidence. Beowulf is obligated to observe fate but does not feel that it should rule him in entirety. He says, “Fate will unwind as it must.” In this case, he believes that fate is to direct his life and does not intend on using it to regulate his actions. Additionally, Beowulf’s actions test his fate for the sea once encountering one of the townsmen warriors, Unferth. As Unferth begins to taunt him, Beowulf replies brashly, saying to Unferth, “Neither he nor you can match me,” in attempt to interrogate him about his strength and to make a fool of him in front of his fellow peers. Beowulf begins to test fate through this growing argument with Unferth but has more powered-driven respect for the sea. He knows of the powers of the sea from his laborious race with Brecca, but he remained humbled and ventured through the waters because of this veneration.

In contrast to Beowulf’s points of views, the narrator in The Seafarer incorporates the idea that fate will destroy all peoples and take everything away. Within the poem, the narrator states that, “fate is stronger.” In this case, fate is an almighty power that no man can control. In addition, he says, “God is mightier than any man’s mind.” This shows that the narrator in The Seafarer is fearful to surrender these unearthly powers, as he is under the impression that it will interfere with his relations to God Himself. When “wondering what fate has willed and will do,” the Seafarer, who fears fate and remains ambivalent toward the sea, is afraid of this power to the point where it has taken over his life. Even while ashore, when visiting his favorite mead hall, he long looks forward to the ventures of the sea.

Furthermore, both Old English poems, Beowulf and The Seafarer, deliberately discuss fate at the sea. Beowulf contains many references to the sea, one after another. For example, after Scyld died, it is stated that, “his people carried him to the sea, which was his last request.” Additionally, once the Geats made notice of the harsh attacks happening to the Danes from Grendel, it is said that Beowulf, a “crafty sailor,” and his men, “shoved the well-braced ship out on the journey they’d dreamed of. . . From far over the sea’s expanse . . . brave men who come over the sea swells,” (these “brave men” being the Geats). With these references in the poem, it shows the amount of emotional appreciation that Beowulf and his men had for the sea. Once Beowulf dies after his great battle with the dragon, his final wish is for his warriors to bid the raising of “a splendid mound on the shore-cliffs after [his] funeral fire. . . [for] sea-fareres shall afterward call it Beowulf’s Mound when they pilot shifts far over the ocean’s mists.”

Another Old English poem, The Seafarer, explains how the narrator (the Seafarer himself) has a deep connection with the sea. Though the later poem is substantially shorter than Beowulf, the feelings, nevertheless, expressed therein about the sea reflect some of the same found in Beowulf. The narrator begins with, “The tale I frame shall be found to tally: the history is of myself”. By saying this, the narrator begins to reflect with the audience on the miseries which he has endured when travelling by sea in winter–miseries of which the landsman knows nothing. He continues with, “No man blessed with a happy land-life is like to guess how I, aching-hearted, on ice-cold seas have wasted whole winters; the wanderer’s beat, cut off from kind. . .” In this instance, the Seafarer speaks of his life on and connection on sea and the fate it has led him to. His connection with the sea is personal, as he describes how no man on land can relate to what he has endured on sea during those harsh winters.

So, what exactly did Harry Truman mean by his past heartening quote? By saying that, “actions are the seed of fate” and “deeds grow into destiny,” he means that every action one makes in life will determine their true fate, allowing their deeds to grow into destiny; even when it comes to actions of characters in stories, such as the splendiferous Beowulf and the timorous Seafarer. The theme of fate has a huge intended purpose in both tales of Beowulf and The Seafarer. These texts stress this theme throughout the connections and interactions made with God, glory, and the sea, putting their lives at risk for the purposes that they believe are right; even if these connections and acts of courageousness are contrasting in some forms. These can be pulled throughout specific details in the text, stating the brave interactions that took place in the stories. Even through battling with devilish monsters, the vigorous powers of the sea, and the eventual sensation of fear, the characters from Beowulf and the Seafarer have both successfully described the themes of fate through the substantial demeanors made throughout both tales.

Ideal Actions and Outcomes

Heroes are supposed to embody society’s ideals as an individual, but they do not always manage to live up to expectations. There are numerous circumstances that cause a person to act in a way that is dissonant to what he or she believes. The short story, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” translated by Y.R. Ponsor, is centred on Sir Gawain’s conflict with himself that peaks when he breaks the code of chivalry that he swore to follow. The epic poem, Beowulf, translated by Lesslie Hall, is focused on a hero who has to save the morose King Hrothgar’s mead hall from a monster named Grendel. Lastly, the ballad Robin Hood and the Three Squires, recorded in the anthology “McDougal Littell Literature and Language: English and World Literature,” by Richard Craig Goheen, is about a man who saves three squires from execution but murders a sheriff in the process. While the characters in these stories are supposed to be heroic and act ideally by society’s standards, it is clear to see that they waver in their morals. Overall, acting outside of ideals can benefit a person in certain situations.

A hero may need to act outside of ideals if his or her life is in danger. Sir Gawain, as an honourable knight, has an obligation to not steal. When Gawain steals the scarf from the green knight to protect himself from the green knight’s strike, he breaks his code of conduct. What Gawain does not see after he is shamed by the green knight is that straying from what is considered right, by stealing the scarf, was the best thing he could have done in his situation. The action of stealing falls short of society’s ideal but it was necessary for Sir Gawain to keep his life as it protects him from the green knights strike. Furthermore, King Arthur and the people of his kingdom do not see Gawain as any less because he stole; they are just happy he is alive. This is evidence to say that the fears Gawain had about the consequences of dishonour are not concrete in his society.

Fear can influence a person to act in a way that is not ideal. King Hrothgar is supposed to be a hero and, before the Grendel crisis, he was. This is evident in how Hrothgar’s mead hall was popular before Grendel started causing trouble. Hrothgar was certainly a man who acted by society’s ideals but, after he saw what Grendel did, he lost his confidence as a king. Hrothgar sat in qualm and did not act against Grendel while his men were murdered. While cowardice is not characteristic of a king, acting against Grendel would have resulted in more damage to Hrothgar and his people. Any attempt made by Hrothgar and his men would have been futile and resulted in a net loss greater than what they experienced during the twelve years of Grendel’s guerilla assaults. Furthermore, Hrothgar’s failure as a king is what leads to Beowulf’s arrival. Making a king act so far outside of society’s ideal would have been enough to say that the threat of Grendel was worthwhile for a stronger hero to intervene. Hrothgar’s instinct to wallow in fear was what saved his life, and the lives of his men, from Grendel.

A person may act outside of society’s ideals if it is easier than following them. Robin Hood is a unique hero. All heroes are villains through some other perspective and Robin Hood is a perfect example. After freeing the three squires, Robin Hood murders the Sheriff who had the squires in custody. The murder of the Sheriff is certainly wrong by society’s standards and it is done without consideration of whether or not the man may have had value to his life. The sheriff could have had a family and been important to others. Robin Hood has his men kill the sheriff regardless. This act, that is uncharacteristic for a hero, was most likely done because it was the easiest option. Robin Hood would may not have wanted some sheriff telling his colleagues about the trickery he used when he disguised himself as a common peasant. It would have been far easier for Robin Hood to kill the sheriff, and it was probably of his own benefit to do so. The sheriff may have come back and either arrested or killed Robin Hood in the future. Even if Robin Hood just killed the sheriff for fun, or because he knew his men wanted to, he avoided potentially having information about him leaked.

Acting in questionable ways can have unforeseen benefits. By stepping outside of ideals, a person may put his or her self in a favourable position. Gawain saved his life by stealing from the green knight, Hrothgar did not get murdered by Grendel, and Robin Hood may have saved his own life if the sheriff potentially could have come after him in the future. The most common motive for acting outside of ideals is fear. Fear was certainly the motivation for Gawain and Hrothgar to act how they did, and a strong case can be made to say the same for Robin Hood. Intuitively, it seems like a purely negative thing to act outside of ideals. However, it is evident that this is not reality. Gawain and Hrothgar faced no consequences for their cowardice and Robin Hood was a villain to high society as soon as he freed the squires. In the end, acting in an unideal manner can be beneficial in some circumstances.

The Story of Sigemund: Beowulf and Poetic Tension

While Beowulf is structured around its three key confrontations between man and monster – Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the Dragon respectively – the plot is punctuated by a series of digressions that recount other heroic, or culturally significant, stories. This section takes place almost immediately following the conclusion of Grendel’s death, and tells the dragon-slaying tale of Sigemund – a figure originating within Norse mythology. Despite its digressional nature, through alluding to previous events and arguably foreshadowing future plot points the section is a thematically cohesive interlude that reflects upon the overall narrative. Indeed, the way in which stories are composed is itself self-consciously depicted, as the poet constructs a meta-poem of sorts – articulating the story through the medium of a fictional scop. The scop’s narration is steeped within the language of the heroic code, and parallels are drawn between Sigemund and Beowulf. Nevertheless, the apparent heroic glorification of Sigemund is problematized within the text. Despite the parallels made to the eponymous hero, Sigemund’s adventures are continuously described in phrases that echo previous descriptions of the monstrous Grendel. Moreover, the Dragon – supposedly the villain of the passage – is not characterised as explicitly villainous: the poet continues a motif of queering the distinction between man and monster. Crucially, this tension surrounding the hero of the passage is mirrored on a lexical and metrical level.

The digressional nature of Sigemund’s story is structurally introduced through an additional transitional passage, as the poet moves attention away from the celebration of Grendel’s death and onto the description of “geflit faran fealwe mearas” (tawny horses). The brief depiction of horse racing begins and concludes with the word “hwilum” (sometimes), and the shift away from the central plot to the “fealwe mearas” (tawny horses) is emblematic of the many diversions within the poem as a whole – of which Sigemund’s slaying of the dragon is a prime example. The repetition of “hwilum”, and the interlinear alliteration of “faran fealwe … foldwegas fægere” (travel dark horses … the earthly path), ensures that this shift maintains a sense of cohesion. Similarly, a unity in narrative is achieved in the story of Sigemund’s battle through the language of the heroic code, which both alludes to preceding events in the poem and also foreshadows Beowulf’s climatic battle with the Dragon. Sigemund is closely associated with his aristocratic heritage, the “æþelinges bearn” (son of nobel prince), a lineage that extends to his nephew (and son in tandem with Norse mythology) Fitela – a relationship that parallels that of a lord and his retainer. Fitela is described as a “nydgetstellan” (comrade in battle), and both times that he is named within the text it is alongside the preposition “mid” (with); the character is linguistically tied with his uncle – and father – and his nominative identity is inseparable from him. Sigemund himself, much like Beowulf, is “wiges heard” (battle fierce): hardened to the toils of battle. Moreover, he is a character capable of slaying a range of monsters. This extends from the “eotena cynnes” – resembling Beowulf’s demolition of the sea-demons – to the “wrætlicne wyrm” (wonderous worm/dragon) – the next dragon to appear within the poem will be the one of Beowulf’s final encounter. Thus, while the passage seems to divert attention away from the main story, it is thematically linked to it in its heroic language and nods to past and future plot points.

Yet while the central hero of the passage is paralleled with the central hero of the poem, by no means is this an easy, straightforward correlation. There exists a clear lexical tension between descriptions of Sigemund as a heroic, and lines that seem to portray him as morally loose: distanced from the titular hero. We might even suggest that the poet is aware of these tensions. The story is preceded by a self-conscious explanation of the process of story-composition through the scop:

“worn gemunde, word oþer fandsoðe gebunden; secg eft ongan” (he who remembers ancient lengends, an arrangement of words that are truthfully bound)

These lines, describing how words are bound together – “gebunden” – through alliterative patterns, are themselves carefully rendered through assonance (“gemunde… gebynde”) that dwells upon the composition of literature. Not only is this a framed narrative but it is a meta-poem, describing the techniques that are then demonstrated in the Sigemund passage. The scop stresses that contemporary literature consists of a process of binding – and throughout the following lines the poet metrically ‘binds’ together words with conflicting associations. For example, Sigemund’s exploits are not purely framed in terms of their heroic glory, but also as tales of “fæhðe ond fyrena” (feud and crime); nouns that are associated with sin and wickedness. Tellingly, the alliterative pattern links these associations with ‘Fitela’, the supposedly loyal “nefan” and – in accordance with Norse mythology – son of Sigemund. Here there appears to be an apparent conflict in the conjoining of the retainer – a staple of the heroic code – with nouns that denote a sense of immorality and cruelty. In nodding to the complex familial relationship between Sigemund and Fitela – “eam his nefan” – the poet highlights an underlying irony in said relationship. This approach seems to be justified by the apparent disposal of Fitela from the actual battle between Sigemund and the dragon; the poet explicitly states through use of the negative that “ne wæs Fitela mid” (neither was Fitela with him). What could initially be seen as a typical lord retainer relationship is problematized by the poets use of metrical patterns and pointed descriptions.

To again reflect upon the half-line “fæhðe ond fyrena” (feud and crime), it is worth remembering that “fyrena” appears twice in the Grendel passage. Thus, not only is the tale of Sigemund paralleled to Beowulf, but the lexis used to describe Beowulf’s latest foe is also evoked and re-appropriated for an apparently heroic tale. Conversely, the central villain of this story – the Dragon – is characterised through vague, morally ambiguous language, not in explicitly negative terms. Description of the dragon is limited to nouns and verbs – a distinct lack of adjectives. For example, we are told that the creature is a “hordes hyrge” (hord guardian). While treasure hording was frowned upon in relation to the heroic code, the noun “hyrge” (guardian) is by no means derogatory. The dragon may be assigned an antagonistic role, but the poet refuses to fully characterise it as strictly villainous. When the dragon dies, it is explained in terms of an assault, or “morðe swealt” (crime punish). While this phrase is also used to describe Beowulf’s attack on Grendel, at least in the former case there is rich depiction of the violence Grendel inflicted upon those around him. Within this passage the boundaries between man and monster, upon analysis of word choices, appears increasingly blurred. Furthermore “horde” reoccurs after the dragon is slain in the compound “beahhordes” (ring-hord), used in reference to Sigemund’s acquisition of the dragon’s treasure. This serves to distance him from the titular hero, as while Beowulf is characterised as a hero somewhat impervious to the temptations of “beorhte frætwa” (bright ornament), Sigemund’s bounty dominates the latter portion of this section.

Ultimately then, what appears to be a passage that embodies the values of heroism, reveals itself to also embody the tensions that surround these values. We may see the apparent conflicts in description and characterisation of Sigemund and his adventures as an anxiety towards the reconciliation of a sympathetic character who steeped within pagan, Norse origins with a contemporary, Christian literary culture. As the scop points out, Anglo Saxon poetry is a process of binding, and at times this binding involves bringing together conflicting values and concepts, reflected at a lexical and metrical level. We are reminded that boundaries in Beowulf are never clearly delineated; and the language and versification itself reflects this liminality between man and monster, and a Christian and heroic culture. Thus, the passage, while digressional, acts as a microcosm for broader tensions and questions that continue to pervade the poem as a whole.

Synthesis of Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf

Old English texts were written in a period when the English civilization was in the progress of converting to Christianity from their previous Pagan beliefs. Hence poetry such as Beowulf contains a blend of elements from Christianity and the Pagan culture. In the transcription of Beowulf, the narrator incorporates Christian connotations in a story that is manifested from a pagan-centric period. Thematically and stylistically Beowulf expresses the standards and ethics of pagan beliefs with a combination of biblical influences which are prominent all through the poem. Several actions of the characters and incidents in the poem illustrate the ideals of Germanic heroic folktales and legends. The ethical code demonstrated by the characters is a manifestation of the pagan concepts of fate (wyrd), vengeance to adversaries, and loyalty to kinfolk. Nonetheless, the poem is imbued with Christian ideals converting the supernatural elements from the mythical account of heroism and bleak fatality into an allegory of faith. In the poem, Beowulf is presented as a virtuous champion and symbol of righteousness against the tribulations of darkness and malevolent forces. Similarly, he is also demonstrated as the pagan valiant ideal of a legendary and heroic warrior. Throughout the poem, the epic tale blends the pagan ideals of vengeance, feuds, fate, and pride with Christian elements and the will of God.

Christian elements are illustrated in Beowulf through biblical allegories and references of God, creation, hades, and heaven. From the introduction, the poem asserts several references to God through phrases such as “glorious Almighty” (Beowulf 17), “Creator” (106) “The Ruler of Heaven” (1555). Furthermore, the poet links the narrative of the biblical Cain to Grendel’s ancestry origin illustrating the Christian inclination of the composition. “Beowulf is doubtless almost exclusively Christian in tone and attitude” (Tietjen 159). Hrothgar’s anguish under the ravages of the monster Grendel is parallel to the biblical narrative of King Saul’s endurance of the giant Goliath. Moreover, Beowulf defeating Grendel in the battle and returning with the weapon and the head as a token is a reference to the encounter of David against Goliath. King Hrothgar is portrayed in several situations recognizing the will of God and offering his acknowledgment of the Christian faith. However, pagan elements are extensively illustrated in the poem, the poet’s introductory Christian based discourse takes a turn when he asserts the Danes’ idol worshipping at Pagan shrines.

Beowulf expresses a blend of the Pagan concept of fatalism and the Christian construct of God’s favor and will. The poem entails constructs both of a capricious entity or force whose interactions with men are not linked to their worthiness, and of a munificent Christian divinity that bestows guidance and grace to the earnest (Tietjen 161). Throughout the poem, the pagan construct of fate is constantly blended with the idea of God’s will. At particular moments, Beowulf believes in influencing his fate through bravery whilst the poet or characters such as Hrothgar, even Beowulf himself, also attribute his triumph to God’s will. Beowulf says “…for undaunted courage/Fate spares the man it has not already marked” (572-73) expressing the pagan concept of fate or wyrd. Later during the battle, he asserts “So may a man not marked by fate/easily escape exile…by the grace of God” (2291-93) which further illustrates the Christian element in the poem. The concept of the Christian God is that man has free will and His favor governs his future and not fate. The pagan concept of fate is illustrated in the end as being responsible for Beowulf’s pre-destined death as he declares his acceptance of his fate in the last discourse (Tietjen 162). However, the contrast between God’s will and fatalism is shown through God granting liberation to Beowulf’s people following his death. On the other hand, Beowulf further illustrates the pacific co-existence of both concepts through Hrothgar forewarnings to the hero about the drawbacks of pride by explaining the roles of fate and God (Tietjen 164). The interweaving of both values in the poem results in the narrative possessing a mixture of both pagan and Christian elements.

Through its characters, Beowulf shows Christian faith and divine influences within the pagan Germanic life-force turning the poem into a predominantly Christian narrative. The characters in Beowulf seek guidance and safety from God in their endeavors as He is the one they thank for favors and request bequeathed (Tietjen 164). Despite the fact that the poem possesses Pagan elements, the Christian influences supersede them. Beowulf is viewed as a Christ-like symbol whose attributes of self-sacrificing, loyalty and saving the Danes from the symbol of evilness and the devil, Grendel, express Christian values. Beowulf is presented as a God-sent savior to cleanse Heorot and together with King Hrothgar, they acknowledge God’s authority (Goldsmith 3). He glorifies God for his formidable abilities against Grendel’s mother, he acknowledges that the aftermath would have been lethal if God had not intervened. Similarly, the majority of Hrothgar’s discourses refer to God’s will and Christian metaphors. Following the Grendel battle, Hrothgar expounds on the greatness of the Lord and the deliverance God bestowed upon the people of Danes through Beowulf. Both Beowulf and Hrothgar express their Christian inclination as they often speak as believers in the one true God (Brodeur 196). The poem attributes the source of the hero’s astounding strength and misfortunes to the faith in the Christian deity. In spite of the spiritual allegories of Hrothgar’s discourses and Beowulf’s gratefulness to God’s will, the text still holds the underlying pagan principles. Conversely, Beowulf’s traits also waver between the virtues of Christianity and the Pagan ideals.

Pagan elements manifest in Beowulf through the titular character’s other attributes of vengeance, feud, desire for fame, and pride. Beowulf is referred to as “The warrior determined to take revenge/for every gross act Grendel had committed” (1577-78). Vengeance and feud were attributes that were encouraged and glorified in the pagan Germanic culture. Beowulf and the kinfolks displayed the duty of vengeance to their enemies contrary to the biblical teachings to forgive and show love to our adversaries. Furthermore, the titular character is also shown as pursuing and having the desire for fame (Goldsmith 11). Beowulf is portrayed as the exemplary heroic warrior in the pagan culture and is seen seeking earthly fame over eternal deliverance in God (Tietjen 171). The poem demonstrates his obsession with earthly possessions as according to the pagan culture of presenting tributes to the kinfolks and warriors. Additionally, Beowulf illustrates the aspect of pride which was considered an important element of an individual’s character in the pagan society. The Christian virtues would deem boasting sinful as demonstrated by Hrothgar’s warnings towards Beowulf about the sin of pride while presenting him with gifts. According to the Christian virtues pride comes before destruction, the poet asserts Beowulf was too proud in his last battle to consider the dragon a threat. Subsequently, his vanity of not taking into account his own age and being accustomed to triumphing leads to his own destruction.

Despite the predominant Christian discourse, pagan aspects of epic folktales are also principal within the poem. Beowulf essentially being a Christian narrative, the pagan spirit plus subjects and circumstances descending from pagan eras remain apparent (Brodeur 183). Beowulf’s superhuman exemplifications and heroism in his battles against evil monsters are reminiscent of pagan heroic tales. For instance, the choice to fight without ordnances and only rely on his splendid strength, subsequently his strength manages to rip apart the creature’s extremity. In general, Beowulf is demonstrated throughout the poem as blending both pagan attributes and Christian virtues in his character and battles.

Beowulf’s synthesis of pagan and Christian elements is a reflection of a period in which the ideals of the pagan age were alleviated by the placidity of the new faith. In the poem, the pagan aspects of the epic tale both conflict and blend seamlessly with the spiritual discourse of Christianity. The Christian influences are ingrained within the poem’s pagan texture that the characters both exhibit virtues and notions from both constructs. The titular character is exhibited as possessing the pagan ideals such as vengeance, pride, and desire for fame whilst demonstrating Christian virtues of self-sacrifice, seeking guidance and favor from God. Further pacific co-existence of both constructs is exhibited through the interweaving of the pagan ideal of fate and the power of God’s will. However, the conflict between the two elements is chiefly shown through King Hrothgar’s pure devotion to the Christian God and the people of Danes’ pagan inclinations. Furthermore, Beowulf wavering attributes back and forth between pagan and Christian ideals create a prevalent juxtaposition throughout the text. The poem aims at setting the Christian elements as a commentary on the aspects of the pagan Germanic culture during this period.

Works Cited”Beowulf.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall. Trans. Seamus Heaney. New York: Norton, 2006. 1235-1305. Print.

Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist. The Art of Beowulf. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971. Web. 07 March 2018.

Goldsmith, Margaret E. “The Christian Theme of Beowulf.” Medium Aevum 29.2 (1960): 1-12. Web. 07 March 2018.

Tietjen, Mary C. Wilson. “God, Fate, and the Hero of “Beowulf”.” The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 74.2 (1975): 159-171. Web. 07 March 2018.

Syncretism in Anglo-Saxon Literature

Syncretism is the combination of elements from many different cultures to make something more extravagant (Loewen, J. W., 2017). Syncretism is be based off of religions, stories, poetry, and a lot more. Not only this, but syncretism is also used for ethnic and racial relations that derives in many cultures and societies that many Americans understood (Loewen, J. W., 2017). Syncretism is used a lot to connect with reality. As told, syncretism is one of those characteristics of any Old English poem that shows what it connects to in terms of religion or cultures. This Old English poem has a lot of syncretism that is connected to Christianity and paganism. Paganism in Old Greco-Roman is an operative antique of “culture wars” (Lincicum, D., 2009). This is where people can make up a god that may not necessarily be an actual god. There are stories where syncretism is placed, where some people cannot find them. Three examples of syncretism are mentioned as Cain’s clan that the Creator outlawed as outcasts for the killing of Abel (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 105-110), Beowulf is declared a lord that kills demons and dragons and is looked upon many civilians (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 2664-2668), and the time of Beowulf’s death and people were grateful for him to be able to help slain the enemy (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 2729-2751). These examples of syncretism were all found in Beowulf, one of the greatest and most complicated old English poetry ever written. This just shows how well it was put together to make Christianity and paganism show in one long poem. This is how epic poems came to be and showed the life of what reality could really be like.

In the first syncretism of Cain’s clam and outlawing them is a meaning towards banishing monsters (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 105-110). This justifies the complexity on what outlawing them really means. It shows syncretism because Cain killed his own brother, Abel, which had a cost: the curse of his exile will include ogres, elves, evil phantoms, and giants who decided to strive with God until he gave them a reward (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 110-114). This is very close to how Christianity is described and is shown in multiple times in Beowulf. In Beowulf, the demon, Grendel, a part of Cain’s clan, showed no mercy upon the humans who could not protect themselves. Grendel dies, but Beowulf won fairly. Grendel’s mother, who is also a part of Cain’s clan, wanted the revenge of her son’s death, but she also dies. This preference is mainly towards Christianity would be pretty close because of the Bible tale of Abel. In the story, Cain and Abel were brothers up until they had their first sibling rivalry; God had pitted them against each other, making sacrifices that Cain and Abel did not know about (Bazzett, M., 2017). As a result, Abel died in the hands of Cain. There really were not paganism terms in this syncretism, since most of it was about the siblings, Cain and Abel. Also, this shows how Cain came to terms with his punishment, his exile after killing his brother.

On the other hand, this syncretism is a little more complicated. Beowulf is known as a lord that kills demons and dragons and is looked up upon many townfolks (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 2664-2668). In this syncretism, many civilians of the towns heard of this legend and think of him as a god. This is more of paganism in this syncretism but can also have Christianity in Beowulf as well. Beowulf is described as an epic hero who has completed so much in his life span, slaying demons and dragons and coming across any evil. In the lines 2664-2668, these civilians describe how Beowulf is declared as their god and lord, who will save them from all sorts of evil. Mainly, paganism is shown in this syncretism because of the way people think of Beowulf. They thought of him as someone who will save them all from curses and evil. Not only this, but it also shows how Beowulf is a savior for killing those of evil. He shows that he is not a god, but he is just regular human being who is fair at fighting.

The third syncretism, the time of Beowulf’s death and people were grateful for him to be able to help slain the enemy (Seamus Heaney, 2000, lines 2729-2751) explains who Beowulf really is. He is not a god, but only savior that helps those in need from curses and evil. In lines 2730 to 2751, Beowulf speaks of what he would like for his funeral: even though he was a king and has done for many people, he wanted his suffering to end and wanted to have peace among himself, but also for his kinsmen (Seamus Heaney, 2000). In a way, this displays a little bit of what Christianity is. He sacrificed everything that he had, and he even wanted people to treasure that as him being a hero. And although he had died in the arms of his kinsmen, many people continued to think of him as a hero, a lord, and a god.

In a way, syncretism is really a reality where the world exists in itself. Although Beowulf was a long poem and displays what reality can really mean to people, it showed morality of how people can act. Even with all of the syncretism inside stories, poetry, and lyrics, it is actually so much more than what we really know. There is also paganism. This is shown throughout Beowulf because of how the people would call him “god: or “lord” when he really is not. So in other words, paganism is used daily in reality. He really is only an epic hero, who wanted his own riches, but to help the other people as well. Beowulf was one who would defeat the darkness, the evil, from the cities and towns; this letting the townsfolk call him god” or “lord”.

Works Cited

Bazzett, M. (2017). Cain and Abel, Revisited. The American Poetry Review, (4), 41. Retrieved January 22, 2019 from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true &db=edsglr&AN=edsgcl.497611322&site=eds-live&scope=site

Lincicum, D. (2009). The Interpretation of the Old Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism. Review of Biblical Literature, 11, 285–287. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true &db=lfh&AN=45705898&site=eds-live&scope=site

Loewen, J. W. (2017). Syncretism. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true &db=ers&AN=96397704&site=eds-live&scope=site

Seamus Heaney. (2000). Beowulf. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Ninth Edition. Received January 22, 2019 from https://digital.wwnorton.com/1882/r/goto/cfi/34!/4