Beowulf vs. Achilles

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Beowulf Versus Achilles: Who Is More Epic? “What makes one heroic?- Going out to meet at the same time one’s highest suffering and one’s highest hope.” The previous statement made by Nietzsche can strongly relate to Beowulf and the Iliad because when the heroes of those two epics went into battle they each suffered; however, they were also able to find hope at the same time. Both Beowulf and Achilles are epic heroes due to their dangerous quests for glory and their superhuman qualities. However, Beowulf is the better example of an epic hero because while he and Achilles both possess the qualities that make up an epic hero, Beowulf is able to use his abilities to not only glorify himself, but to help others as well, while Achilles does not. Both Beowulf and Achilles are epic heroes who take dangerous quests for glory; Beowulf must slay the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and eventually a dragon while Achilles must find and kill Hector, the commander of Trojan forces. Grendel is a “powerful monster”(1. 21), whom is wreaking havoc among the Danes, especially in King Hrothgar’s hall, where Grendel “Stalked Hrothgar’s warriors, old And young, lying in waiting, hidden In mist, invisibly following them from the edge of the marsh, always there, unseen. So mankind’s enemy continued his crimes, Killing as often as he could” (75-80. 23). After hearing of Grendel, Beowulf feels it is his duty to “sail across the sea to Hrothgar, Now when help was Smith 2 needed” (115-116. 23). Beowulf travels to the land of the Danes and stays with his men in the hall, waiting for Grendel to attack. After killing one Geat, Grendel tries to attack Beowulf but is “instantly seized himself” (430. 32). Once Grendel is caught he is unable to free himself from Beowulf’s grasp, and Beowulf eventually kills him. After defeating Grendel, he must next kill Grendel’s mother, for she is attacking

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