Salvation In Literature Essay

1067 words - 4 pages

Salvation in Literature

The contrasting views of salvation throughout Anglo-Saxon and Middle English literature serves as a reflection of each era’s understanding of God’s relationship with man. The Anglo-Saxon idea of salvation is rooted in its understanding of the earthly, physical aspects of this world. God’s relationship to man is seen in relation to a liege lord’s relationship with his hall’s thanes, as described in the Beowulf text. The hero, Beowulf, is an Anglo-Saxon depiction of a “saved” man. In contrast, Chaucer’s General Prologue provides the reader with a view that has shifted from a salvation understood not in this physical world, but one that is highly out-of-reach and mysterious to men. This view invites the characters of the General Prologue to engage in a type of passive-faith salvation, a relationship with God separate from their way of life, however aware of their sin they might be. With these two views, it is possible to categorize the Anglo-Saxon view of salvation as legalistic, or salvation by works, and the Middle English view of salvation as antinomianism, or salvation by grace, apart from works.

The Anglo-Saxon hero gives the reader a clear vision of the understanding of legalistic salvation. The hero’s identity is founded in his ability to claim participation in a mead hall, descending from a long line of esteemed ancestors. The very essence of such identity is rooted in this physical world. This essence of identity is contrasted with the description in “The Wife’s Lament,” where the heroine wanders the earth separated from her husband’s mead hall. She claims, “Endlessly I have suffered the wretchedness of exile” (102). With the lack of a mead hall comes the lack of identity for the Anglo-Saxon. Salvation is understood through the physical principles and therefore, without any tie to such earthly “heaven,” the woman described within this story represents for the Anglo-Saxon an unsaved man or woman.

The hero’s journey, or path to salvation, is similarly grounded in the tangible world, gained by works and physical deeds. The battle between Beowulf and Grendel serves as a spiritual battle, fought in the physical world, with physical implications and consequences. Beowulf’s decision to fight Grendel “hand to hand…, a life and death / fight with the fiend” (lines 438-440) depicts the Anglo-Saxon notion that any understanding of the spiritual world comes from this earthly world. In this way, any promise of salvation comes from physical actions. Beowulf’s defeat of the monster Grendel causes his elevation to a “saved” man, as Hrothgar claims, “But you have made yourself immortal / by your glorious action” (953-954). Beowulf, by fighting a spiritual battle in the terms of the physical world, bridges the gap between God’s relationship with man, demonstrating salvation by works alone.

In contrast, the characters presented in Chaucer’s General Prologue offer the reader evidence of an apparent shift...

Find Another Essay On Salvation in Literature

The Pilgrimage for Salvation in the Eyes of The Monkey

1966 words - 8 pages entitled to see God without an interpreter only if they become forgiven of sins. The trails in the journey are the god-given gift for salvation. As Oscar Wilde said,“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” So the more interesting question, perhaps, is why Dante’s Divine Comedy is very closely associated with Christian theology. As one of the greatest works of Western literature, The Divine Comedy is, however, often

Art, Literature, and the Carriers of Civilization

1289 words - 5 pages Taim AwadMs. MocarskiA.P. British Literature09/07/2014Art, Literature, and the Carriers of Civilization.In 1848, Thomas de Quincey wrote an essay titled "The Literature of Knowledge and the Literature of Power." De Quincey was a 19th century British author. He is well known for "Confessions of an English Opium Eater." In his essay, he divides literature - books to be precise, into two separate roles: the literature of knowledge which conveys

Everyman and the Bible: Exploring Good Deeds, Faith, and Salvation

2462 words - 10 pages Protestant Reformation, so the piece of literature shares the view of Roman Catholicism during that period. Roman Catholics often rely on a spiritual leader’s interpretation of the Scriptures and some additional texts, while Protestants believe the Bible alone should studied by each individual believer. Biblical Christianity teaches something different from what Everyman does. The Bible stresses that salvation occurs through faith and belief in Jesus

Return of the Jedi by George Lucas

613 words - 2 pages Patrick RonanMay 14, 2014Steven SaccoSalvation HistoryStar Wars: Apocalyptic DaysConsidered to be one of the greatest film sagas of all time, Star Wars is not without its share of comparisons with apocalyptic literature. Whether or not George Lucas intentionally put these in here or not, they are there. While there are many examples of it, the three big ones take place at the beginning, middle, and the end of the movie. But these apocalyptic

Christ in Catholicism and Other Religions

2083 words - 9 pages and across Europe is testament to the increasing diffusion of religions around the world (Himma 51). Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate saviour, and no one can get to God through any other way apart from Christ alone. Therefore, it is impossible for a person to be a follower of another religion and receive Christ salvation because salvation lies in the Grace of God that was expressed through the death of his son Jesus Christ as

the meaning of death

1353 words - 6 pages ” (Slick, n.d., para. 1). This morality plays main purpose was to teach the audience virtuous behavior, and conduct, as well to heed a warning to all who live in sin. The author of Everyman uses the powerful representation of death to bring the protagonist to salvation. The role of death is fascinating; although he only shows up in the first part of the play, he is a constant reminder that judgment day is coming for Everyman. This one act play

China's Catastrophic Cultural Revolution

968 words - 4 pages a local tailor’s daughter, three youths risk everything for precious western books (Jessica Allen). The priority of education and literature is a major theme in Balzac and the Little Seamstress, highlighting what happens when the development of knowledge is prevented. In the novel, the main characters temporarily escape nightmarish re-education camps by slipping into stolen novels as the novel’s narrator says, “this fellow Balzac is a wizard

Pearl and Chillingworth's Struggle for Dimmesdale's Soul in The Scarlet Letter

1242 words - 5 pages Dimmesdale, Pearl represents the way to salvation. The little child is a symbol for everything pure and good when it comes to struggle for the minister’s soul. When Pearl remarked that the Black Man captured the minister’s soul, she simply laughed saying that he could not catch her (Hawthorne 120). Chillingworth, the Devil, could not affect little Pearl’s guiltless person. Even in the forest, an evil place, the sunshine came through the thick

Dante and Virgil: The Influence of the Aeneid on the Divine Comedy

1018 words - 5 pages himself as a man astray from the True Path; he does not believe that his voyage can ever ultimately lead to salvation in the way that Aeneas's did. The scene from Paradiso in which Cacciaguida speaks to “Dante” explicitly evokes the image of Aeneas and Anchises from the Aeneid (Virgil 6.917-20) by using the same thematic elements. In both scenarios, the hero of the epic journeys to the after-life and visit an ancestor; this ancestor then

The Religion of Sikhism

1007 words - 5 pages religions. Along with these main functions, Gurdwaras around the world also serve the Sikh community in many other ways including libraries of Sikh literature, schools to teach children Gurmukhi and the Sikh scriptures, and charitable work in the community on behalf of Sikhs (Singh Brar). Sikhs believe in reincarnation, like Buddhists and Hindus. These religions differ to a great degree, but both Buddhists and Sikhs believe materialistic

Freed from innoncence

837 words - 4 pages “Salvation" by Langston Hughes is the story of a young boy who has an experience of revelation or realization. While attending a church revival, he comes to the sudden realization that Jesus can not physically come save him and isn’t truly there for him . In the first few sentences of the essay, Langston adopts a very childlike style of writing. He uses simple words and keeps the sentences short, similar to the style of an early aged teenager

Similar Essays

Salvation In The Old Testament Essay

998 words - 4 pages From the definition of apocalyptic literate, which states that such literature is “a revelatory form which pertains to the end of reality and describes a new divine world with salvation for the few,” it might be easy to assume that apocalyptic texts can be pretty homogenous. Certainly there are many similarities in apocalyptic texts-- prophets employ common motifs and themes and use similar language patterns, and of course, the central subject

Langston Hughes' Salvation Essay

649 words - 3 pages Langston Hughes' Salvation In most people's lives, there comes a point in time where their perception changes abruptly; a single moment in their life when they come to a sudden realization. In Langston Hughes' 'Salvation', contrary to all expectations, a young Hughes is not saved by Jesus, but is saved from his own innocence. 'Salvation' is the story of a young boy who has an experience of revelation. While attending a church revival, he

Organizing Wesleyan's Postion Of Inquiries And My Panorama Theology

1523 words - 7 pages My Theology II I do not believe that my theology has changed very much on the contrary it has fortified even more. It is interesting about the Wesleyan’s position of theology among the other queries.. Wesleyan’s position of the inquiries of theology, nature or essence of God, sin, Jesus Christ, Salvation and Grace. In this paper, I will try to organize Wesleyan’s position of inquiries and my panorama theology. Wesleyan position Theology

Religious Theme Essay

945 words - 4 pages and eats the fruit which leads to her destruction. Although Laura ultimately lives and Eve dies because of her temptations, there is no refuting that this poem resembles the Adam and Eve story in the bible. Both characters need someone to offer them salvation. God offers Eve salvation. Lizzie offers Laura salvation. In order to save Laura, Lizzie risks her life to obtain the fruit that Laura succumbed to. After being attacked by the goblin men
Addtoany | Imbattibile (2006) | Leo Da Vinci - Missão Mona Lisa Download Torrent Animação / Aventura / Família Idioma: Italiano / Português 2018 MKV Torrent DownloadVídeo 10 / Áudio 10Sinopse: No final da Idade Média, na Itália, Leonardo: Leo Da Vinci é um jovem amante do garoto para inventar máquinas avançadas que vive feliz com seu...