Of many Christian elements in the passage, the most distinct is the mention of the
worldwide flood: "flood, rushing water, slew the race of giants -- they suffered terribly: that was a people alien to the
Everlasting Lord" (Norton, 49). The book of Genesis also talks about a flood, describing Noah in the ark with his family for forty days and forty nights.
Another concept that can be viewed as Christian is the idea of sharing treasure, giving away rings. This
generosity is what Christianity promotes. Hrothgar warns Beowulf about the sin
of excessive pride and tells him that sharing treasure is the right way for a king to live. However, this sharing
is not unconditional: in exchange for the treasures, the lord expects his thanes to back him up in the time of troubles:
"[A king] ought by the good deeds, by giving splendid gifts..., to make sure that later in life beloved companions will
stand by him, that people will serve him when war comes" (Norton, 27). That certainly adds a pagan element
to this Christian idea.
Among other pagan elements in the passage, there is the need to avenge murder, which completely
contradicts the Christian notion of forgiveness ("turn the other cheek"). "I have avenged
the evil deeds, ... as it was right to do" Beowulf says
after he kills Grendel's mother (Norton, 48).
Revenge plays a central role in Anglo-Saxon warrior society.
Generally, fighting was a way of life in Anglo-Saxon society. The enemy's blood was what a warrior
enjoyed seeing the most. Christianity, on the other hand, condemns fighting and promotes peace.
Another pagan element is the sword of the giants that Beowulf finds in the underwater cave. The sword's
hilt is ornamented with snakes -- a pagan symbol of wisdom.