The Celtic Chronicle
Pagan & Christian Elements

There are many religious symbols in the poem of Beowulf. We have come across a few Christian elements, but many elements found were pagan. Because the passage talks about a fictitious dragon (a pagan symbol), there is an uneven distribution of the symbols. Moreover, the fight between Beowulf and the dragon in the passage contributes to the warrior code and heroism,which contradicts Christianity.On page 59 of The Norton Anthology, we see the first symbols for this passage. At the beginning of the passage, the "deed of fame" is mentioned. A "deed of fame" refers to the warrior code. "Battle-fire, steam monster" is also mentioned. This is also a pagan symbol because "monsters" are not a part of Christian religion. Then, we see "poison" mentioned. Poison is also a pagan symbol

because, as far as we know, monsters do not use poison in Christianity. Then, a very important pagan symbol is mentioned--fate. The pagans believed fate ruled all things and that life was destined and could not be changed. We also see another reference to the warrior code, "glory in battle," which is a pagan symbol. On the following page, we see a pagan phrase, "sword made by giants." This is a pagan symbol because giants were not accepted in the religion of Christianity. Lastly, on page 61 of the passage, we find the only Christian symbol that refers to God. One God is mentioned and not the many pagan gods.With a total count of seven pagan elements and one Christian element, we can see that pagan ideas controlled this particular passage.

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