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Examples and Samples

Beowulf: The Heroic Germanic Code

Beowulf is one of the most significant epics written in the period when people were on their way from Paganism to Christianity. The Anglo-Saxon epic story was created in the 8th century. It is one of the brightest examples of the Old English epics. Unfortunately, the name of the author who wrote Beowulf is still unknown, but the majority of literature experts believe that it was originally written by the poet who was Christian and the story was some sort of reflection of this religion’s tradition. Still, some of the literature experts believe that Beowulf was the creation of pagan folklorists with some Christian elements. Through the whole epic, just like in the final between Beowulf and the dragon, it is possible to notice different parallels that the author builds up between the Christian and pagan beliefs.

It is possible to call Beowulf an ideal hero. Many critics attribute the most positive features to this hero, such as: courage, chivalry and honor. He does his best in order to protect his people and the whole society for the price of his glory and status. Beowulf is blessed with the pagan features, which make him even more significant. This man has supernatural power, which has always been the characteristic feature of all pagan heroes. Although Beowulf suffers from a great number of painful wounds, he is still able to demolish the dragon with only one blow.

Moreover, very often critics make parallels between Beowulf and Christ. Just like Jesus Christ, Beowulf is trying to do everything in order to save his people. He decides to face the battle with the dragon alone. The same happened to Christ when he was all alone during the final confrontation with Satan. Nevertheless, Beowulf believes that God is the only one protector of his life and he is grateful to his Savior throughout the whole epic story. Even in the last minute of his life he thanks God for having saved his life. Right before death he doesn’t betray what he believes in. The other parallel, which is possible to be built up, is that Beowulf sacrifices his own life for the sin, which was committed by the bandit who has stolen the treasure of the dragon.

The dragon, depicted in the epic, is the other pagan folklore personification of evil and death, which is at the end defeated by good. Good against evil – that’s the common theme of pagan folklore all over the world.

In accordance with the pagan heroic code, it is better to…

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