Stories like Beowulf and the Iliad seem hard to believe, far-fetched, and exaggerated even though they can relate to a cultures past. Even so, both stories have great examples of fighting, victory, and glory. “Now though I may win my perfect glory…” (Line 64 Homer) This quote helps show the desire Achilles has for glory. “I’ve never known fear, as a youth I fought in endless battles. I am old, now, but I will fight again, seek fame still, if the dragon hiding in his tower dares to face me. (Line 607-611 Beowulf Poet)
This quote shows Beowulf has a similar desire for fame and glory, along with the confidence to be victorious. Both relate the tales of a hero, and as we follow them, we learn about them in the process. The story of Beowulf seems too good to be true in a sense. As you read, you notice that every woman is beautiful, every warrior is good and every cause is worth risking life and limb for. What is realistic is that every human being wants to be loved and accepted while also being the hero. King Hrothgar is a fatherly example that deserves the love that Beowulf has for him. Hail, Hrothgar!… My youth have been filled with glory.
Now Grendel’s name has echoed in our land: Sailors have brought us stories of Herot, the best…When the moon hangs in skies the sun had lit, light and life fleeing together. ” (Line 140-148 Beowulf Poet) This quote shows the fondness that the king and Beowulf have for each other, and it shows a comparison of light and life. In the case of Achilles in the Iliad, everything is a bit more believable. The theme of life and death is brought to the reader’s attention when Patroclus is killed.
As a result, Hector is also killed because of Patroclus’s death. Achilles isn’t perfect, along with other characters such as Hector and King Agmemmon. These faults make this story more realistic and believable, while also adding truth to the story. Bad decisions are made, such as Achilles allowing his good friend, Patroclus, to enter battle and be killed. “My greatest friend is gone: Patroclus, comrade in my arms, whom I held dear above all others- dear as myself – now gone, lost; Hector cut him down, despoiled him of my own arms, massive and fine, a wonder in all man’s eyes. (Line 13-18 Homer) In this quote is an example of life and death and how it made Achilles wants revenge on Hector.
This also gives Achilles a type of “power” to choose whether to take Hector’s life. Beowulf is humble, and although he has the personality of a hero more than Achilles, he does not see his own value or his own significance. Achilles, on the other hand, could not be more proud. His awareness and consideration of his own skills and his own value are an obvious difference to the humility and mildness of Beowulf. Do not attempt to keep me from the fight, though you love me; you cannot make me listen. ” (Line 70 Beowulf Poet)
This quote shows an example of Achilles attitude toward himself and others when it comes to a fight. This also shows how Beowulf has more good in him then Achilles. Beowulf having a personality with great goodness, makes the decision to fight the greatest evil (Grendel) with only his hands. “My hands alone shall fight for me, struggle for life against the monster God must decide who will be given to deaths cold grip. (Line 172-175 Beowulf Poet)
This quote supports Beowulf’s fight against evil, and how the fight will determine life and death. Beowulf and the Iliad are stories of great heroes. They take us through their stories and battles while teaching the reader about them along the way. The Iliad is easier to believe, while Beowulf seems too good to be true. Both stories relate to the cultures past and teach us about each character. Beowulf and the Iliad battle through evil and relate to each other through life and death.