In fact, most devout Christians believed in the idea that “might makes right”—at least in the sense that a just God would not allow those fighting in his service to fail.
Seen in this light, Beowulf’s actions speak of selfless sacrifice; if he is violent, it is because, like people of his age, the times required violent action to secure peace and bring about prosperity.
In the Danish kingdom Beowulf puts his own life at risk to relieve Hrothgar’s people from the scourge of the monster that has been threatening their safety.
Similarly, when he has become king of the Geats, he takes it on himself to lead a band of warriors in combat against the dragon to retrieve the treasure that will benefit his people once it is rescued from the serpent’s clutches.
He fights against the monsters not to gain personal favor but to first to rid Hrothgar’s kingdom of the monsters menacing it, and then to save his own people from the threat of the dragon.
The audiences that would have listened to the poem in the eleventh century would have accepted the notion that violent behavior was compatible with Christian principles.
It also causes us to feel disgust and revulsion at their horrible habitat.
Finally, in the episode with the dragon, its cave is depicted as a “hidden entrance” with “a streaming current of fire and smoke block[ing] the passage” (lines 659-661).
Throughout the narrative, he measures his success by his ability to make life better for those he serves.
The idea of fatalism that permeated northern European religions is transformed into a version of divine providence that stresses God’s control over human events.