Epic of Beowulf

738 Words3 Pages
The characters Oedipus and Beowulf represent two different types of heroes. Oedipus is a tragic hero and characterized by its standards. He was an influential man of stature who had a tragic flaw. While he contributed to his own downfall, Oedipus was not entirely responsible for it. He also learned a lesson from his mistakes which ultimately creates a catharsis in the reading audience. Beowulf, on the other hand, is characterized by the standards of an epic hero. He strives for excellence and individual glory by doing heroic deeds. He has an admirable set of ethics, is great warrior, and is very loyal to his master. Beowulf is also rewarded for his deeds with fame and fortune. Although both of these men are heroes, the individual circumstances which allow them to achieve this status vary greatly. Oedipus was a man of power and high social status. This was due to his position as King of Thebes. He was greatly respected by his people because he had ruled well during his reign as king. Oedipus did, however, have a tragic flaw which was his inability to control his anger. This lack of self-control is illustrated when Oedipus kills his father in an argument over the right of way in a road. Oedipus' anger is also exhibited when he yells at the prophet Tiresias for telling him the truth about his mistakes. Oedipus' downfall was partially his own fault, although it was not entirely deserved. Oedipus made the choices in his life that brought him into contact with his parents. He also choose to kill a man in a fit of rage. He had control over all of these factors, but it can be argued that he was destined from the beginning to commit these deeds no matter how Oedipus tried to prevent them. Oedipus'... ... middle of paper ... ...ded by fate and could not prevent his inevitable downfall. Beowulf was a perfectly shaped epic hero of fame and glory. He possesses uncommon human ability and a very loyal nature. He won the respect of all who came in contact with him through his champion-like etiquette and dignity. Although these two characters represented entirely different types of heroes, they shared one important similarity. Each had a tragic flaw that caused their demise. Bibliography: Works Cited Anderson, George K. "The Old English Heroic Epic Poems." Rpt. in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Vol. 1. Eds. Dennis Poupard and Jelena O. Krstovic. Detroit: Gale, 1988. 98-101 Furgusson, Francis. "Oedipus Rex': The Tragic Rhythm of Action." Rpt. in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism. Vol. 2. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Detroit: Gale, 1988. 388-389.

More about Epic of Beowulf

Open Document