Beowulf and Odysseus: a Comparison

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Beowulf and Odysseus: A Comparison

What is more important to the hero than his men? Both Beowulf of “Beowulf” and Odysseus of The Odyssey of Homer have the all important asset of men at their disposal, Men who follow them as leaders and accompany them on their travels. While Odysseus greatly values his men and treats them very loyally and emotionally, his men, in turn, give him the same loyalty and respect back. Beowulf is far more self-driven. While his men are mostly present throughout, they often take more of a spectator role due to the fact that Beowulf’s actions and decisions often don’t require the assistance of his men. He has a very neutral personality when it comes to his men, and only really has passion for himself and his
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When Eurylochus returns and tells Odysseus of the fate of his men who ventured into Circe’s house, instead of fleeing as Eurylochus advises he goes in to rescue his men. While inside, though Circe tempts him with great feasts and tries to charm him, he keeps his men foremost in his mind “what man with justice in his mind would think of food and drink before he freed his comrades and could see them with his own eyes? If indeed you would have me drink and eat, release my men: bring back my faithful friends”. He refers to his comrades as friends, and friends they seem, though with Beowulf is it is much more of a leader to an underling type of relationship. The men return all of this compassion and loyalty with matched or greater loyalty and affection for Odysseus. For when they are rescued they are tearful with joy and gratitude for his returning to save them. Their loyalty is unbroken by Eurylochus’ attempts to undermine Odysseus and cause his men to question him. When Odysseus considers striking down Eurylochus they hold him back with assurances that they are loyal to him and will follow him wherever he may take them “If you-one sprung from Zeus-prefer it so he can stay here and watch the ship. We’ll go with you, lead us to Circe’s sacred house”. It’s defining moments like these that separate Odysseus’ men from Beowulf’s; where Beowulf’s men clearly

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