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Beowulf - Essay Example

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Religion and fate in Beowulf Professor number Religion and fate in Beowulf Beowulf has attracted many a question regarding the religious beliefs that are espoused by the characters of the work. It is one of the oldest works of fiction that has survived the ravages of time and since going into the form of a text, many of its original verses are supposed to have undergone major transformations…
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Beowulf
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Beowulf

Download file to see previous pages... The importance of the pagan worldviews that informed the course of events in the Middle Ages cannot be ignored during an analysis of the events that happen in Beowulf. Fate may at times intervene with the events that are shown to happen in the work; however, many of the events are brought about by the actions and perseverance of the protagonist, Beowulf. This indicates that there is more to the actions of a person than just the influence of fate. In this discussion, it is also necessary to dissociate oneself from the ideas of fate that are used for discussions of free will and determinism in contexts that are dissimilar from those of the Middle Ages. The idea of determinism extended to the notions of loyalty in the frames of references that Beowulf talks of. As a result of this, one’s actions were almost always dependent on the needs of the lord of a particular person or a warrior. It is seen from the actions of Beowulf that his notions of loyalty towards Hrothgar impel him towards fighting with many monsters and this sense of loyalty is what one may refer to as his fate. This sense of fate comes from being a part of a line of heroes. The urge to keep up one’s pride that stems from one’s family is thus, a great factor in ensuring that one goes ahead and displays a certain kind of valor that is worthy of one’s family’s reputation on the world. Religion here is of lesser importance and only serves to bind the different rules that are a part of the social fabric that ensures the maintenance of whatever system of governance existed in the first place. The system that ensures this kind of a lack of change also depends on the subservience of its followers. This subservience is ensured by a complex network of which religion is a great part. This can be seen from the fact that the narrative of the epic is structured by three points where there are funerals which are obviously religious ceremonies. In such points in the narrative, religion makes an entry and ensures a smooth transition that is made according to the rules that are set down by the ruling class of the society. Beowulf’s end is also occasioned by the sense of duty that he has towards his people. The dragon that is to be slain has to be killed in order to ensure the well-being of the people of Beowulf’s kingdom. The duty of a king was also a great part of the religion that existed during the Middle Ages. The duty of a king and the duty of a warrior were intrinsically connected as the physical well-being of the people of a kingdom was one of the greatest responsibilities of a king. We find Hrothgar talking extensively upon the duties of a king. From this, one may deduce that what is important in the fate of a person is what the society decides for him, even though that person may be the king himself. Religion impels a king to fulfil his responsibilities towards his king and the arm of a king may only, in the poem, be a reference to warriors who are expected to be of the utmost service to him. Loyalty to the king is what constitutes the ‘wyrd’ of Beowulf to begin with and loyalty to his people later on in the narrative. This is what ultimately causes his death. The strong hold that religion had on the people of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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