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Comparing Two Heros - Beowulf and Odysseus Essay

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Comparing Two Heros - Beowulf and Odysseus

Reading through Beowulf I began to compare it to the last great epic I read, Homer’s Odyssey. While the Odyssey and Beowulf are each examples of both historic and modern ideas of heroism, the acts of Beowulf’s hero seem to fit better within its context.
Beowulf exhibits many obvious heroic qualities, such as his strength and confidence in battle. These along with more subtle diplomatic actions serve to define him as both a great warrior and leader.

Beowulf shows both wit and patience in his swift retort after Unferth challenges his skill. Later, after proving himself by dismembering Grendel, he accepts Unferth’s sword to face Grendel’s mother. This offering can be seen as an act of apology or forfeit on Unferth’s part and reveals another side of the hero: forgiveness. Beowulf did not deny Unferth his repentance, nor did he ridicule him upon his conceit.

In contrast with Beowulf’s concrete depictions of good versus evil, The Odyssey focuses more on the gray areas of punishment and revenge. A main theme throughout the poe...


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