Essay on A Comparison of Oedipus and Beowulf

693 Words 3 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
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Despite the awful acts committed by Oedipus, he learned a very important lesson. He discovered that fate cannot be changed. This was proven to Oedipus when he finally learned what he had done through Tiresias. Oedipus, by trying so hard to succeed in his obligation to free
Thebes from the curse, caused his own undoing (Fergusson 388). This moment of realization for
Oedipus causes a catharsis of emotion among the audience. They feel pity for Oedipus, who unknowingly and unwittingly committed these deeds. Beowulf is, however, a completely different type of hero. Beowulf is surrounded by fame, glamour, and fortune. He is an uncommonly great warrior and has performed many heroic feats.
By the end of his life, Beowulf has beaten Brecca in a swimming race, killed Grendel, killed
Grendel's mother, and exchanged fatal blows with a dragon. Beowulf is an ideal epic hero. He knows to perfection the proper etiquette and he has comitatus towards his leaders and elders. As to the issue of loyalty, Anderson says that he "depicts the loyalty of warrior to chieftain; of freeman, earl, and churl to their king - a whole-souled devotion to which Anglo-Saxon was ready to dedicate his life" (99). Beowulf, for the most part, follows the heroic code. The only portion he violates is the call for humane treatment of a fallen foe. He deviates from this part of the code when he beheads
Grendel after his mother in order to achieve revenge for the loss of one
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