Old Testament Allusions In Beowulf Essay

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Old Testament Allusions In Beowulf

Thesis: The Beowulf poet incorporates Old Testament allusions in order to teach
the Anglo-Saxon pagans about the new religion. I. Biblical Allusion A. The

Definition of Allusion B. The Old Testament II. Descendant of Cain A. Story of

Cain B. Grendel 1. Descendant a. Committing Murder b. Living as Grendel III.

Allusions to David and Goliath A. Story of David and Goliath B. Story of

She-Monster C. Death of the She-Monster 1. Decapitation IV. The Serpent A. Story
of the Serpent B. Story of the Dragon 1. Allusion to Satan V. Lord of the

Universe A. Act of Creation B. Ruler of All Adam Bussey Dr Vivone English 4A,

Period 5 24 April 2000 Old Testament Allusions in Beowulf Throughout literature,
many writers have alluded to stories in the Bible. Whether it's from the Old

Testament or the New Testament, writers have paid references to Biblical
stories. In literary analysis, this is called an allusion. The Oxford

Encyclopedic English Dictionary defines an allusion as a reference, especially a
covert, or indirect one (37). In the case of Beowulf, the allusion is referring
to instances in the Bible. The specific references are to stories told in the

Old Testament. During the time period of the poet of Beowulf, there were many

Anglo-Saxon pagans. The pagans are people not subscribing to any of the major
religions of the world. At this time, the new religion of Christianity also came
about in this region. Religion, therefore, is taught through stories, such as
those of the Old Testament. The Beowulf poet incorporates Old Testament
allusions in order to teach the Anglo-Saxon pagans about the new religion. The
first Biblical allusion told in the epic poem is about Cain. Cain was a
character in the Old Testament who committed the first murder. He had grown so
jealous of his brother that he murdered him. In the Judeo-Christian world, he
represents the first real evil act committed by man against another man. This is
alluded to by the story of the Grendel monster. For many years, the Grendel
monster terrorized the people of Herot. He came in and killed the inhabitants by
slashing and even eating some of them. This act is much like the act that Cain
committed and therefore Grendel's actions can be traced back to Cain. Grendel
is a descendant of Cain because he committed the same act of murder. The Grendel
monster also did not have a very promising life. His life contained no positive
outlooks. He lived in his abode only to go out of it to kill and plunder for
treasure. These living conditions help establish a reason for his killings. He
still committed these acts against man and became evil for them. Grendel can
also be linked to Cain by the fact that it tells that the Grendel monster, which
was originally a Scandinavian troll, represents evil and darkness (Tuso104).

Since he represents evil, Grendel can be linked to the Old Testament, just like
that of Cain. The Old Testament allusion of Cain is told through the Grendel
monster. A second allusion that the poet of Beowulf told about is the allusion
to David and Goliath. The story of David and Goliath is an easy one. David was a
very small man who was of no match to Goliath. Goliath, on the other hand, was a
giant and was almost unbeatable. David went against this great opponent and
triumphed even with his impossible odds. Then, as a trophy of some sort, David
cut the head off Goliath and kept it. This story is alluded to in the poem
through the story of the She-Monster. The She-Monster is Grendel's mother as
well. After learning that her son was killed by the mighty Beowulf, she decides
to enact revenge on Beowulf. But Beowulf acts first by searching for the

She-Monster. He finds her underwater lair, where she also has been hoarding
treasure together. Beowulf uses the sword he was given; yet it fails him. Thus,
against all odds, Beowulf still struggles against the giant She-Monster and
continues to fight. Beowulf eventually triumphs over the great beast and decides
to prove to the people that he killed the creature. He grabs a sword and cuts
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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