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...
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A Comparison of the Heroes, Odysseus, Jason and Aeneas Odysseus is unique among epic heroes in that his strength comes not from inhuman powers or exceptional physical ability, but mainly from his mind. Odysseus, regularly uses cunning, guile, and superiority of intellect to overcome obstacles. In this paper I will compare Odysseus to other epic heroes, both in terms of character and in terms of responses to crises, comparing his reactions with those of other heroes placed in similar situations.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1685 words (4.8 pages)
- Gilgamesh and Odysseus: Perfect Heros Gilgamesh and Odysseus are similar not only in their physical appearances but also in the way the two of them deal with life's dilemmas. Although Gilgamesh and Odysseus possess great strength and sharp minds, their own flaws blind them similarly, which does not aid in their quest for what they desire. As part of their heroic character, the gods must guide them in order to reach their goals. In every epic from antiquity, the greatest challenge a hero must overcome is not a monster or an evil tyrant but themselves.... [tags: Epic of Gilgamesh Odyssey]
1511 words (4.3 pages)
- In any classic story about heroes and villains, the monsters involved are often characterized as the evil ones and, consequently, receive no justice under the law. Throughout the epic story Beowulf, the hero of the story encounters three monsters that are threats to society: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. The monsters in Beowulf are quickly targeted and destroyed because of the harm they cause to society. However, upon further examination of the monsters and the motives for their actions, the reader can view the monsters not as the cutthroat villains they may initially appear to be, but perhaps as victims of society.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
3014 words (8.6 pages)
- During Odysseus’ journey back home to Ithaca, him and his crew encountered many evils and troubles. Almost every one of these took at least one of his men. Scylla is an example of this. This monster took six of Odysseus’ men while on the journey home. Nearly ever was it Odysseus’ fault. His men caused most of the problems that haunted them back to Ithaca. His hardships started when he was sent off to fight in the Trojan War. He had to fight because he had made an oath to Helen’s husband that he would always defend her honor.... [tags: Odysseus, ]
1025 words (2.9 pages)
- The epic Beowulf shows us how a mans’ character is tested as he encounters difficult situations. The unknown author of Beowulf, leaves behind a mystique, an intriguing quality with which the character which hold our interest. The modern-day hero, Superman, also possesses these same qualities. Their modest actions are what helped these hero’s to become their peoples’ “ideal man.” The first quality that earns a person’s respect between Beowulf and Superman is wealth. Neither of these men had a considerable amount of money.... [tags: Beowulf Epic Poem Essays]
615 words (1.8 pages)
- Odysseus and Penelope Odysseus and Penelope are the best two example of what it really means to be human because of their great courage to overcome all obstacles for a greater cause. There is not one true definition on what it means to be human, but the most knowledgeable definition of “human” is to be created in the image of God. The attributes that really set humans apart from all the other animals on earth are imagination, reason, and will. These three human faculties make us who we are because we have the ability to counter plate our own mortality.... [tags: Odysseus, Analysis]
620 words (1.8 pages)
- Comparring Odysseus of Homer's Odyssey and Moses of the Bible Heroes and their stories have been at the center of almost every culture throughout history. There are vast differences among these legends since they have to serve each particular culture's needs. The events, settings and other characters may change dramatically, but the hero is basically the same for all. And the understanding that the use of violence is always justified in the name of the `Gods'. The universal hero is initially one of questionable moral standing.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1832 words (5.2 pages)
- Heros Throughout time and literature hero’s have not changed physically but the people who are looked to as hero’s has. A hero is someone who goes above and beyond what is required to help someone in need. Hero’s come in many shapes and sizes, and carry many similar but different qualities. Hero’s are kind people who truly care for others without any alterrior motives. People who care and donate their time, energy, love, and kindness to others. Also a person who is brave, daring and courageous are considered hero’s.... [tags: Essays Papers]
471 words (1.3 pages)
- Beowulf This essay will show how the epic Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian poem Beowulf is part of the heroic culture seen all over Europe at that time. While the poem has been escribed to about the year 800, recent research has indicated beyond doubt that it was first written down between 1087 and 1090, as entertainment for the court of King Henry II. (Aubrey Beardsley, Beowulf: New Beginnings, 2001, p. 74) Of course, the late eleventh centry was merely when it was actually put to paper, the language of the poem shows that there are many parts that are much older, that probably date to the Celtic Iron Age of southern Norway.... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essay]
534 words (1.5 pages)
- Beowulf Beowulf was written during the Anglo-Saxon time period. Beowulf is a story about a young warrior and his quest through life. Some people consider Beowulf a tragic hero, and some people just consider him a hero period. Whether Beowulf is a tragic hero or not, he fights many great battles. The reason Beowulf fights stays basically the same but it changes a little. In the beginning of the book, Beowulf goes to help the Danes out by killing Grendel. Grendel is a ferocious monster that has been killing the Danes in the mead hall (115).... [tags: Epic of Beowulf Essays]
828 words (2.4 pages)