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Essay Similarities Between Hamlet And Beowulf

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Both Shakespeare's Hamlet and R.M. Liuzza’s translation of Beowulf are classic tragedies that both tell the story of a young man ridding Denmark of a malicious monster, which ultimately ends in their death. However, that is where the majority of Hamlet and Beowulf similarities end. Shakespeare's famous tragedy revolves around a young prince expressing his inner feelings and plans towards revenge on his murderous uncle throughout his many soliloquies. This self-reflective attitude towards oneself is not seen in Beowulf and instead, jumps straight into defending one’s honor through physical battle and seeking revenge with little contemplation. Although both characters successfully execute their revenge on their respective monster(s), Hamlet and Beowulf’s journey towards this finale differentiates through their individual hamartia, which ultimately leads to their deaths.

Beowulf’s tragic flaw is evidently, his hubris. It leads him to overestimate his strength and let pride come in the way of his safety. The beginning of the poem quickly showcased Beowulf’s belief that only he can save the Danish people from Grendel the monster. He reveals this when telling the thane of Hrothgar, “I can counsel Hrothgar, advise him how...he may overcome this fiend…or else forever afterwards a time of anguish” (Beowulf 278-279, 283). Beowulf ultimately believes he is the Dane’s only hope and without his aid, Hrothgar and his people will suffer. It seems as if he almost sees himself as a man of
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