Since time immemorial, English literature has incorporated pagan ideas as well as Christian beliefs. In the pagan culture, warriors got the treatment of heroes, people believed in battles with blood and gore, and revenge was carried in the presence of wrong doings. On the other hand, Christian values ensured they promoted loyalty, sympathy, and sacrifice to make the world a better place for every individual. In this paper, I will elucidate on how the two concepts amalgamated to establish most appreciated literary works in the history. The Dream of the Rood and Caedmon’s Hymn portrays several incidences associated with Christian influences. The Anglo-Saxons had to describe Christ as a warrior, guardian or hero for them to obtain Christianity ideas.
Bede narrated a story of Caedmon who sprinted with shame since it was not possible for him to sing during the feast. Later on, when asleep, an angel directed Caedmon to sing about the good deeds of creation. No sooner than later, Caedmon dedicated his life towards monastery writings songs that talks about the life of Christians. In the Dream of the Rood, rood refers to the cross, the speaker dreams of the rood Christ was sacrificed on. “Then the young Hero stripped himself-that was God Almighty-strong and stouthearted”, in this line, the author asserts that Christ was a warrior concocting for a fierce battle when he was on his way to be crucified. In the Beowulf poem, pagan heroic ideas and Christianity are integrated to depict self-sacrificing deeds in both cultures.
Beowulf is pronounced a hero and warrior ready to face the wrath of Grendel in a fierce battle, and he was purposed to revenge the evils committed by Danes. In this epic poem, Beowulf has a strong belief that he was destined to protect and fight against all enemies of Danes. The characters in the poem are given evident biblical roles. For instance, Grendel and his mother are Cain descendants, because they appear to be monsters of pure evil that resides in Hell (the bottom of a fiery lake). In addition, both Beowulf and Grendel are the biblical David and Goliath, and one is sent from heaven to defend the interest of a community that was grief-stricken by a giant. In the end, Beowulf defeats the monstrous giant, and the members of the community regard him as a hero and conqueror.
Evidently, the Dream of the Rood poem has both pagan elements and Christian virtues, but in the end, it is regarded it depicts most Christian elements. The talking tree is animistic, and this reveals why scholars pinpoints the pagan virtues of the poem. The credence present in the spiritual nature of natural objects identifies the tree as a worship object. Richard North in Heathen Gods in Old English Literature avows the significance of the sacrifice of the tree and its relation to pagan virtues. He asserts that, “"the image of Christ's death was constructed in this poem with reference to an Anglian ideology on the world tree." North explains how the poet in The Dream of the Rood applies the Ingui myth language to demonstrate the passion associated with the freshly Christianized countrymen as a story from their innate tradition. Irrespective of the pagan rudiments, the poem also demonstrates Christian beliefs since it exposes the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ as a victory against sin and evil.