The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature, and is well deserved of the distinction.
Another Biblical reference in Beowulf is shown in the tower of Herot which is very similar to the tower of Babel in the fact that it’s built as a sign of superiority and accomplishment.
Like Babel, though, Herot only serves as a symbol of downfall more than one of glory because it causes many deaths and the coming of Grendel. Biblical themes and motifs, character is also shown through a certain Man vs. This motif shows the difference between mankind’s ways good, and evil’s wild nature evil.
Hrothgar, king of the Danes, is one example of the Anglo-Saxon measurement of importance in Beowulf.
In Canto 1 the story teller describes his wealth and importance, not as mounds of gold or jewels, but instead as his ability to “ the Danes to such glory.” and as his tendency to “In battle, the common pasture untouched, and taking no lives.” Through this display of compassion for the commoner who doesn’t fight in battles, Hrothgar proves the full extent of his honor and therefore the extent of his wealth and status.
The Biblical reference in the epic has become a modern day archetypal motif, and serves to give the listener an idea of the extent of Grendel’s pure evil and gives a logical explanation for Grendel’s murderous behavior.
This example, not only shows the evil in Grendel’s nature, but also the torture in his heart caused by his Banishment from God.Grendel it biblically described as evil in this excerpt: was spawned in that slime, Conceived by a pair of those monsters born Of Cain, murderous creatures banished By God, punished forever for the crime Of Abel’s death.The Almighty drove Those demons out, and their exile was bitter, Shut away from men; they split Into a thousand forms of evil–spirits And feinds, goblins, monsters, giants, A brood forever opposing the Lord’s Will, and again and again defeated.Beowulf has many other such archetypal, symbolic themes and motifs, but the most important themes that serve to add depth to the characters are the wealth, honor, religious, man, and wildness themes.These themes don’t only serve to define a character, but they also factor in as a motive for their actions.Defeating Grendel, he shows that man, without armor and weapons, can defeat evil in any form including that of his foe Grendel.This deed serves throughout the epic serves as a symbol of Beowulf’s Goodness.It serves to give the reader an idea of why Grendel would kill the Danes for no reason other than their happiness.Beowulf also has a religious motif to his character.The original Epic was obviously Paganistic due to the time period of it’s creation.But, as time wore on, the rewriting and touching up of the manuscripts by various sources including religious monks, caused the characters to have slight Christian characteristics.