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Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Culture Beowulf is the oldest known piece of English literature written around 700 AD in Old English It is an epic poem that is a tale of its namesake Beowulf We can date this poem easily not only scientifically but also culturally There are certain characteristics in Old English Anglo-Saxon society that are evident throughout the poem Among those traits are religion the relationship between kin thanes and lords and the way people dealt with their fate The Christian religion came to the English Isles as early as 314 AD and greatly influenced the literature there The poet was believed to be a monk and a scop bard because of the prevalence of Christian allusions One such allusion is from the first book of the Bible Genesis It is the story of how Cain slew Abel It explains how Grendel is descended from Cain who was cast out by the Ruler God for that misdeed From him Cain sprang all bad breeds trolls and elves and monsters Grendel When Grendel terrorized the mead hall Heorot for twelve years he could never come near Hrothgars throne He might not approach the throne receive treasure because of the Lord He had no love for him This basically says that since the throne was blessed no creature of darkness or thing of evil could touch it and its ruler Grendel hated the thanes warriors because they were one with God as he being a creature of evil could never be Hrothgars speech from after Beowulf killed Grendels mother with the blessed sword reflects the Christian doctrines emphasis on morality and conscience the devil lies in wait for the unwary mind and heart While Beowulf mentions being with my father in Heaven as in when a thane dies it has only oblique references to the real root of Christianity Gods son Beowulf himself reflects the Christian appreciation for peace among men That Beowulf is
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