Comparing the Characters of Beowulf and Achilles

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Comparing and Contrasting Beowulf and Achilles Both Beowulf and Achilles are poetic characters, who hail from different eras of history and different cultural backgrounds. While each is unique in his own way, the two heroes also share similar characteristics. This paper will compare and contrast the medieval Germanic hero Beowulf with the classical Greek hero Achilles (of Homer's Iliad), and show how the two are similar and how the two are different. The first way in which both characters are similar is in the fact that they both travel from great distances to take part in a battle against some evil. In the medieval Germanic epic, Beowulf leaves his people the Geats of Scandinavia to help Hrothgar, the king of the Danish people, to kill Grendel, a monster who attacks the king's hall and devours the king's men. Beowulf slays Grendel but then must challenge Grendel's mother in order to restore Hrothgar's kingdom to safety. Likewise, Achilles joins the other Greeks and travels to Troy to do battle against Paris, Hector and the other Trojans for having abducted Helen, the wife of Menelaus. Achilles performs many heroic deeds on the battleground and adds renown to his name among the Greeks. Both Beowulf and Achilles are also incredibly strong. Their powers seem, in fact, extraordinary and superhuman. For example, Beowulf has powerful lungs and is able to hold his breath for impossible lengths of time while underwater. He can swim great distances and hold his own in hand
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