Compare And Contrast Essay

1262 words - 6 pages

In the epic poems Beowulf and The Iliad there are many characters which have honorable traits but only one that has heroic qualities. In Anglo-Saxon culture a hero was a person who has larger-then life characteristics such as superhuman strength, courage, bravery, and a honest and smart leader. Beowulf and Achilles in The Iliad both have heroic qualities one more than the other. Even though these two poems were written in different eras, Beowulf was written around 1000 AD in England while The Iliad was written 750 BC in Greece, they both depict similar scenarios with warrior themed instances though very different ways of going about this. Many of the epic poems have a major or final enemy which is ultimately what he whole story is leading up because a hero never says no to a fight. Beowulf has many heroic qualities throughout the entire poem which can not be said about Achilles. Achilles has different qualities that i will discuss in this essay.
The whole story of Beowulf is heroic in that he is a Geat warrior but comes to the land of the Danes because he heard of the horrible monster attacking their mead-hall. Right from the beginning he shows loyalty because King Hrothgar a long time ago helped him father out and now he wants to repay the favor. Beowulf fights Grendel and rips his arm off with his superhuman strength and kills him. After he accomplished this all the Danes were jumping with joy and celebrating the man who saved them. Shortly though Grendel’s mother came to get revenge for her son but when she woke up the people sleeping in the mead-hall she ran away. Beowulf decided to follow her to and kill her too because that was the right thing to do. So he traveled to her cave and fought her though this battle wasn’t as easy as the one with her son. He eventually took a giant sword and slays her killing her on the spot. The Danes were ecstatic praising Beowulf for being their “hero.” He then returns to Geatland where he reigns as king for 50 years. One day a dragon disrupts his people and so he decides to go and fight it taking 11 trusty men with him. When they get to the Dragons lair all of the men but one flee in terror. This one man stays and helps Beowulf defeat the Dragon together but the Dragon ends up wounding Beowulf that he dies at the scene.
Some of the heroic qualities that Beowulf showed in this poem was that he was a incredible warrior. He had larger than life characteristics -super strong, brave and courageous- and wasn't afraid of any challenge. It is described that Beowulf has the strength of “thirty men” in just one of his arms. He came to the land of the Danes not knowing what to expect but believing that he can conquer anyone. Beowulf said to the thanes in the mead-hall,“I resolved, when I set out on the sea, sat down in the sea-boat with my band of men, that I should altogether fulfill the will of your people or else fall in slaughter, fast in the foe's grasp. I shall achieve a deed of manly courage or else have...

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