Beowulf as a messianic narration has been a topic of great contention. Give the clip period. ‘Christianity’ was non wholly established. and it was entwined with cultural pagan religion. as seen woven throughout the text. The definition of a messianic narration ( incorporating the ultimate messianic figure ) is found in Isaiah 53. a prognostication spoken by God through the Hebrew prophesier Isaiah. This is the criterion to which Beowulf must be compared to determination the nature of the verse form. Many bookmans such as Harold Bloom ( citing E. Talbot Donaldson ) . Roberta Frank. Rich Lawson. Seamus Heaney. and J. R. R. Tolkien ( citing R. W. Chambers ) have critically viewed Beowulf to find the nature of the heroic poem. ensuing in a diverse scope of decisions.
In set uping a criterion of messianic narration for Beowulf to make. God’s metanarrative must be explored. Isaiah 53 speaks of the features of a messianic figure. sketching the messianic narration. It reads. “He was lead like a lamb to the slaughter …The penalty that brought us peace was on him. ” The nature of Jesus is understood through simile. as Jesus is compared to a lamb. symbolizing pureness. gradualness. and forfeit. This symbolism is important as Hebrews would hold identified with butchering an unmarred lamb to expiate for their wickedness. The initial rhyme so used in penalty and peace emphasises the connexion between the event of penalty and expiation. conveying the absolutely orchestrated program of redemption. Isaiah 53 speaks of an guiltless messianic figure giving their life to salvage an unworthy people – the messianic narration.
The Christianity of Beowulf is explored by Bloom in the debut to Tolkien’s Monsters and Critics. He quotes Donaldson. “While Christian is a right term for the faith of the poet and of his audience. it was a Christianity that [ had non ] succeeded in killing an older [ pagan religion ] . ” and responds. “Donaldson describes what I have read: a heroic verse form. [ and ] no-one reading the verse form would happen Beowulf a peculiarly Christian hero…Courage is the premier virtuousness exalted in Beowulf. ” . Bloom and Donaldson argue that whilst Christian elements are present. epic pagan religion is more prevailing in Beowulf. This is supported by the decease of Beowulf. reading. “of all the world-kings. [ he was ] keenest for celebrity. ” summarizing Beowulf. and proposing his life merely amounted to self-glorification.
In measuring the Christianity of Beowulf. Frank suggests that. like King Alfred did of Remiguis’s commentaries. the writer of Beowulf used heathen analogies for Christian constructs. Lawson explores this in the function destiny has throughout the verse form. “The Geat prince placed all his trust in…his Maker’s favor. ” Then Beowulf speaks. “The Father…shall apportion the honours…to whichever side shall look to Him tantrum. ” . The poet wrote. “Fate had non assigned him the glorification of conflict. ” . The composer’s personification of ‘Fate’ portrays the topographic point it has taken – God’s topographic point. Lawson writes of this. “The heathen construct of fate…is tied to God. ” proposing that Beowulf is resigned to destine. but the writer is utilizing this to exemplify the nature of God. Frank besides states. “What matters is how the rulers…served God’s intent. ” . besides naming Beowulf a. “Pagan prince of peace. ” . While Beowulf demonstrates a heathen trust in destiny. Lawson and Frank believe it was the writer utilizing pagan religion to convey the messianic narration. and that Beowulf was instrumental in making so.
In analyzing Beowulf. Lawson concluded it was a messianic narrative including a messianic figure. to a great extent reconciled with heathen constructs. This is explored besides by Seamus. through Beowulf’s quest for celebrity. Seamus wrote Beowulf was of. “A heathen Germanic society governed by a epic codification of honor. one where the attainment of a name for warrior-prowess among the life overwhelms any concern about the soul’s fate in the hereafter. ” . This is supported by the statement Beowulf made. “Let he who can. win celebrity before decease. because that is a dead man’s best memorial… [ I will ] either execute some heroic effort. or breathe [ my ] last. ” underscoring the value that was placed upon celebrity and gallantry. However. this heathen construct of celebrity is reconciled by many mentions to God. such as. “The…Lord…gave out the triumph. ” lauding Him. In this manner. Beowulf is a messianic figure. portraying the messianic narration. In his widely renowned book Beowulf: Monsters and Critics. Tolkien was bold in stating that the full verse form of Beowulf was devoted to conveying the messianic narration.
He wrote. “It is in Beowulf that a poet has devoted a whole poem…that we may see adult male at war with the hostile universe. and his inevitable overthrow in Time. ” This overthrow of adult male correlates straight to a messianic figure. carry throughing a messianic narration. Tolkien admits that there are heathen elements. but they were in maintaining with the clip frame. and because the. “Anglo-Saxons…could non [ separate pagan religion ] and the Scriptures. ” . He continues. besides proposing that the monsters in Beowulf are important in symbolism and Biblical Allusions. citing Chambers’ . “The mammoth enemies ( monsters ) are…foes of God. [ Monsters ] are referred to in linguistic communication meant to remember the powers of darkness with which Christian work forces felt themselves to be encompassed. They are “offspring of Cain” and “enemies of mankind”… Beowulf. for that he moves in the universe of the…Heroic Age… is a Christian Knight. ” In contending and being waylaid by monsters. Beowulf is carry throughing the messianic narration.
Tolkien. with the support of Chambers. provides great confirmation to this. reasoning Beowulf is so a messianic narration. It is agreed upon by all the aforesaid bookmans that a outstanding component of pagan religion was seen throughout the verse form Beowulf. and both Bloom and Donaldson claimed that this pagan religion prevented Beowulf from going messianic in its entireness. However. I contend. that Beowulf was. really much a adult male of his clip and civilization. that the impression of ‘hero’ was ingrained and because of this he was restricted [ in his function. Though Bloom and Donaldson disagree. most other bookmans are in changing grades of conformity that Beowulf was in kernel a messianic narration. and Beowulf a messianic figure. As antecedently analysed. Beowulf supports this statement. showing evidently Biblical illustrations through heathen gestures. Open to personal reading. from this survey it can be concluded that Beowulf achieves the criterion of a Messianic Narrative.