Similarities And Differences Between Beowulf And Achilles

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The tales of epic heroes have made a lasting impact on literate today. Almost everyone knows one story of a great epic hero. However, not many people know that the personalities, heroic qualities, and demonstrations of society differ from an Anglo-Saxon hero to a Greek hero. Beowulf and Achilles are two wonderful examples of the differences and similarities of an epic hero within two very unalike cultures. The stories of these two heroes have been told millions of times. No matter what the differences and similarities are, it is safe to say that epic heroes are game changers. Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon hero who very much exhibits the qualities of his surrounding society in his heroic deeds and general personality. Beowulf is filled with superhuman…show more content…
Achilles, like most Greek epic heroes, was a demigod. The Nereid Thetis was Achilles’s mother, and his father was Peleus, the mortal king of the Myrmidons. Like most Greek demigods, Achilles has a very interesting childhood backstory. Soon after Achilles was born, his mother wished to make him immortal. Thetis took Achilles to the river Styx and immersed his body in the water. But Thetis was unsuccessful in her task and ultimately created a fatal flaw for Achilles. She neglected to immerse her son’s heel in the water and he is left mortally vulnerable to his enemies. Greek heroes always have a fatal flaw that ultimately leads to their death. Achilles is later shot in his heel with an arrow and dies almost instantly. Though his previous conquests were amazing, they did not exempt him from the power of his fatal flaw. Achilles was also strong, vengeful, and deeply loyal. When hector strikes down Achilles’s best friend during battle, Achilles makes it a point to get revenge on Hector. Eventually Achilles brutally kills Hector and drags his body behind his chariot. He wanted to humiliate his enemy even in death. Achilles was known to fly into a rage during battle. He was incapable of control his actions. Another unique quality that Greek heroes possess is their reliance of the Gods. Achilles had Athena to assist him in the fight with Hector. The Greek culture believed that a person could be favorited by the…show more content…
Achilles and Beowulf both fight for honor and glory. Though their fighting styles may be different, they both chose to face their opponents directly. Their stories of conquest are both persistently retold to future generations. Both of these heroes embody the characteristics that their society needs. Anglo-Saxon heroes were taught to be proud of their conquests, as were the Greeks. It was acceptable to boast about your victories to others. Vanity was a common thing in both the Anglo-Saxon and Greek societies. Both of these societies have been found to influence one another. The Anglo-Saxon mindset that a hero must be more than a man comes from the Greeks. The Greeks typically meant that their heroes must be demigods, but the Anglo-Saxons took the concept and applied the strength and wisdom to a mortal man. One very important intertwined concept of the epic hero is the hunt for a quest. Epic heroes seek out opportunities and take it upon themselves to find/carry out a quest. Ultimately quests are a huge part in the make-up of an epic hero. Achilles and Beowulf are also glorified by their peoples. Beowulf is thought to be extremely mighty while he is in the land of the Danes and also back in his homeland. His annihilation of Grendel and the sea witch is told throughout the kingdom. Achilles’s deeds are also significantly glorified by his comrades. Essentially both heroes lived in a society that relied on social
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