February 7, 2009
Honors English IV – 2nd period
A Tale of Two Heroes
The story of Beowulf and the story of Achilles are both epic stories that involve heroic narratives and have mythic potencies. They participate in supernatural battles which most of the time, determines the fate of their nation. They also share the common characteristics of having extraordinary powers, ways of confronting evil, and areas of vulnerability. While the story of Beowulf talks about heroic deeds of Beowulf, who seeks fame and glory. Their mythological themes can be compared to traditional accounts of heroic past, fabulous elements, and a combination of conscious structuring and creative intuition.
In comparison to having obtained extraordinary powers, both Beowulf and Achilles achieve that. For Beowulf, he was able to do things a normal human being wouldn’t be able to do. Such as fighting with Grendel with only his bare hands. He succeeded by ripping off the monster’s arm, making Grendel flee to his lair where he later dies from loss of blood. He also shows his extraordinary abilities when he went to go fight Grendel’s mother in the lake, it took Beowulf a day before he can finally see the bottom. In comparison with Beowulf, Achilles was also considered invincible. According to legend, when he was born, his mother plunged him in the river of Styx so that his body would be invulnerable.
When Beowulf and Achilles are compared to confrontations with evil, it is no doubt that they got it in the bag. They both are brave and valiant and are not afraid to get down and dirty. For Beowulf, when he was gripping Grendel’s arm, he started losing his grip, but instead of letting go, he managed to hold it a little longer until Grendel’s arm was ripped out from its socket. Grendel discovered himself in a handgrip “harder than anything he has encountered in any man”(Heaney 749-754). On the other hand, Achilles, instead of battling a...