In Beowulf the Christian influence is revealed through approximately 70 passages in which the form of expression or the thought suggests Christian usage or doctrine (Blackburn 3); The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki is in its own way infused with Christian values even though it preserves remnants of the cult of Odin.
The Christian element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text of Beowulf for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down. The Christian element had to be included by the original poet or by minstrels who recited it in later times. The extent to which the Christian element is present varies in different parts of the poem, from about ten percent in the first part to much less than that throughout the rest of the poem. The Christian element is about equally distributed between the speeches and the narrative.
Christian missionaries to Britain in the early centuries took many words belonging to heathen beliefs and practices and adopted them into the church (Blackburn 3). For example, Hel was at one time the goddess of the world of the dead; Catholic missionaries used Hell to indicate the place of the dead, later of the damned. Likewise with words such as Yule, Easter, God, haelend, nergend, drihten, metod, frea; the latter ones have fallen from usage. We see these words used in Beowulf as well as other Anglo-Saxon poetry.
The theology which appears in the Christian allusions in Beowulf is very vague and indefinete: there is no mention of Christ, the saints, miracles, Mary His Mother, specific doctrines of the church, martyrs of the church, the New Tes…
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…ticism, edited by Lewis E. Nicholson. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963.
Bloom, Harold. “Introduction.” In Modern Critical Interpretations: Beowulf, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Chadwick, H. Munro. “The Heroic Age.” In An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, edited by Lewis E. Nicholson. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963.
Chickering, Howell D.. Beowulf A dual-Language Edition. New York: Anchor Books, 1977.
Frank, Roberta. “The Beowulf Poet’s Sense of History.” In Beowulf – Modern Critical Interpretations, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Futility of the American Dream Exposed in The Great Gatsby
“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American dream.”
— Tommy Hilfiger
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the principle character, Jay Gatsby makes an exhaustive effort in his quest for the American Dream. The novel is Fitzgerald’s vessel of commentary and criticism of the American Dream. “Fitzgerald defines this Dream, he depicts its’ beauty and irresistible lure”(Bewley 113). Through Gatsby’s downfall, Fitzgerald expresses the futility and agony of the pursuit of the dream.
The aspects of the American Dream are evident throughout Fitzgerald’s narrative. Take, for example, James Gatz’s heavenly, almost unbelievable rise from “beating his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam-digger and a salmon-fisher” (Fitzgerald 95) to the great, i.e. excessive, Gatsby, housed in “a colossal affair by any standard… with a tower on one side… a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (Fitzgerald 11). The awe in which Fitzgerald presents his awakened phoenix clearly conveys the importance of improvement, or at least what one thinks is improvement, in the American Dream; it is not necessarily a life of excesses and wealth Fitzgerald defends as the Dream, for the audience sees clearly their detriments in the novel through Tom and Daisy, but rather a change in the style of life, reflecting the equally-American pioneering spirit.
Nevertheless, wealth does certainly play an important role in the American Dream. With wealth, supposedly, comes comfort, as Nick mentions regarding his home: “I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbour’s lawn, and the consoling pr…
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…an III, Tremper. The Book of Ecclesiastes. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. 1998.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Penguin Books, 1990.
Possnock, Ross. ” ‘A New World, Material Without Being Real’: Fitzgerald’s Critique of Capitalism in The Great Gatsby.” Critical Essays on Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Ed. Scott Donaldson. Boston: G.K. Hall