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Beowulf the Pagan by Michael Vaugh Beowulf is an epic poem that combines the contrasting beliefs of the traditional Paganism and the modern assessment of Christianity The majority of the characters in Beowulf are Pagans This religion is based in the belief of many gods polytheism The story Beowulf was passed down by word of mouth for years prior to being written down As is the case with any word of mouth story Beowulf undoubtedly changed each time it was retold One aspect of these changes was most likely the addition of more pro-Christian elements The first person to write down the story of Beowulf was most likely a Christian monk This original writer is suggested by the fact that it was written on parchment which was a luxury reserved for the Church at the time The monks were for the most part the only class that could read and write However the core of the story remains in the Pagan values of personal wealthaccomplishment super human strength monsters and burning the dead Beowulf is a Christian reworking of a pagan poem with a string of pagan lays edited by monks it is the work of a learned but inaccurate Christian antiquarian Clark 112 The story was set in a time when Christianity was a newly budding religion in England Beowulf is a link between two traditions Pagan and Christian Throughout the book there are obvious references to both Christian and Pagan rituals The characters in the epic are newly found Christians who are trying to remain true to their new faith but are weak and hence in times of great trouble they resort back to their Pagan traditions and gods out of fear Pagan rituals in the book are usually present only as reflections of the past or in times of the characters greatest turmoil Otherwise in times of happiness and rejoicing they worship their one almighty Christian God When Grendel is attacking Herot
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