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Beowulf

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There was a huge influence of both paganism and christianity that can be noticed in Old English Poetry. To better understand these two values, let us explain what paganism and christianity mean. Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. As presented in New Thestament, Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in The Old Testament. Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect, and shares many religious texts with Judaism, specifically the Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament. The name Christian means belonging to Christ or partisan of Christ. As far as Paganism is concerned, the word comes from latin paganus and means a country dweller, rustic. It is a term which has come to connote a broad set of spiritual or cultic practises or beliefs of any folk religion a nd of historical and contemprorary polytheism religious in particular. (...) Characteristic of pagan traditions in the anscence of proselytisation and presence of a living mythology which explains religious practice. The term Pagan is a Christian adaptation of the goy of Judaism.

There are many books and works that presents the influence of these two big religions on the culture. Let us focus on three examples of Old English Literature works in which this influence is the most visible for a reader.

The poem The Seafarer which belongs to the sea elegies found in the Exter Book and, can be read as an allegorial voyage poem, such allegories of journeys were richly explored in later religious poems. [L. Sikorska: 2005, p. 25] This work is divided into two parts. In the first one we can notice the story of seafarer who describes hardships of life on the sea, whereas in the second one we can find some christian elements. He approves of honest living and higher values as friendship and love.

Lonely and friendless and far from home

In my ears no sound but the roar of the sea

In all my wretchedness, weary and lone

I had no comfort of comrade or kin (24-25)

The Seafarer highlites the transience of wordly joys which are so little important and the fact thet we have no power in comparison to God. These two surely support the fact that he relied on God in his faraway journeys.

Ic gelyfe no I do not believe

южt him eorрwelan that the riches of the world

ece stondaр. will stand forever.

We can say that The Seafarer chooses his loneliness being aware of all hardships that it is connected with. Thanks to Christianity which he relies on, he is able to overcome all the odds. The motif of exhile is characteristic to pagan culture and beliefs. The pagan element connected with anglo - saxon culture that can be found in the Ubi Sunt motif. The seafarer misses friends and love because now there is no friends and no feelings. In pagan belief the exhile was the worst thing that can happen to one. He is exhiled but, what is strange, he is exhiled on his own wish. It was a kind of self-imposed exhile. After enumerating the hardships of sealife he says:

Yet still, even now, my desire outreaches,

My spirit soars over tracts of sea (60-61)

O'er the hime of the whale, and the word's expance.

For the Seafarer, death, as Christany, is a hope of angelic grace. Strewing his coffin/With treasures intended for Heaven. (80-81) The poem also reflect the Christian belief that depending on one's religious deeds, Heaven is one's reward and death is one's punishment.

Death lepas at the fools who forget their God

He who lives humbly has angels from Heaven

To carry him courage and strength and belief (106-109)

An abvious prove for the fact that the seafarer could be written by a christian poet is the last word which is Amen"- a word that is used by Christians at the very end of each prayer.

Another valuable in Christian and Pagan elements poem is The Wanderer. This one was, as The Seafarer, found in the Exter Book and talks albout the hardships of man who lost his lord and lives in a sorrow. Many claim that this poem was surely written by a Christian poet and also that it was a poet who had some familiarity with Latin literature, as well as being steeped in the traditions of the Anglo - Saxon poetic craft. (J.P. Trapp: 1973, p.101). The same author highlites also the fact that poem is anallegory in which the exhile of the Wardener relfects the spiritual exhile from God of the Christian, while the hero is still in the world and his life is a kind of a pilgrimadge. The Wardener, as the Seafarer focuses on the transitory of the life on the earth connected with the Christian belief that wordly joys are not important because they pass away.

greteр gliwstafum, He greets them joyfully,

georne geondsceawaр eagerly scans

secga geseldan; the companions of men;

swimmaр oft on weg they always swim away.

He enumerates all the things that he says are not necessairy in life and there is no reason to fight for them because they are transcendent. He has a Christian morality saying that we should pay attentiononly to what we do and how we feel because those thing stay and never go away. After losing his lord he knows that those things are so less important than real feelings.

Her biр feoh lжne Here money is fleeting

her biр freond lжne, here friend is fleeting,

her biр mon lжne here man is fleeting,

her biр mжg lжne, here kinsman is fleeting,

eal ÑŽis eorÑŽan gesteal all the foundation of this world

idel weorюeр! turns to waste!

Here in the poem we can also notice the pagan value of Comitatus and Ubi sunt Motif. Both The Wardener and The Seafarer suffer the exhile. The difference between them is that in the second one it is a self-imposed exhile, whereas in the first poem,

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