• anonymous
The epic poem Beowulf combines elements of paganism and christianity. One aspect of paganism is the concept of wyrd, the old english word for "fate." What is the role of fate in the poem? Based on your understanding of Beowulf, how do you think Anglo-Saxon society viewed fate?
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • schrodinger
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  • dehelloo
Well in discussing the outcome of his battle against Grendel with Hrothgar, states that “Fate always goes as it must.” This indicates that Beowulf is not completely foolhardy because he recognizes that Grendel might defeat him and that the decision is all in the hands of fate. A great warrior can fight his best, but if fate is not on his side that day, then he will lose. This is the mindset of the Viking warrior and perhaps of the Anglo-Saxon poet as well. There are many situations like this in the film and constant references to fate in the poem. This is a great resource. Beowulf is a blend of Anglo-Saxon paganism and Christianity. On one hand is the belief that all is in the hands of fate (Wyrd). This makes for fierce warriors who fight fearlessly because their appointed time to die is out of their control. On the other hand is the belief that God is in control. Here it is God's timing and grace that prevails; as He wills, so it will be. Noth-the-less it can be seen that with both beliefs, an external 'higher,' force determined the outcome of a particular person's life/event in their life.

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