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Beowulf and Batman: Similarities and Differences

Categories: BatmanBeowulf

The term “hero” possesses various meanings behind it, such as a person who doesn’t necessarily have any superpowers or immunities to pain or death but still puts their entire life into protecting the citizens. When we think of a hero, what automatically comes to mind? One might anticipate that someone’s legendary. Others might anticipate a hero as someone of great strength or ability. Perchance an eminent soldier or warrior, or perhaps someone admired for their achievements and great qualities.

To me, it once meant someone that showed great courage. Well, there are two different types of heroes that embodies everything good about humanity: classic heroes and modern heroes.

The concept of both classic heroes and modern heroes were formed by human imagination to represent ourselves after. For example, Beowulf and Batman are two iconic heroes that we can think on top of our heads when we think about original heroes. Classic heroes are different, though, from modern heroes because of their skill sets and capabilities.

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Even if both classic heroes and modern heroes are still different, they are always alike from another. For instance, heroes work towards the common good, saving others without thinking twice for their own safety. Beowulf tells an epic tale about a prince of the Beats of Southern Sweden who does heroic deeds during his adventures as a Scandinavian warrior. Beowulf portrays as the protagonist who assists Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, from an attack caused by a monster, Grendel. Beowulf also fights off Grendel’s mother and a fire-breathing dragon through his epic adventures.

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Because of every great mind who created advanced technologies, society admires the physical allure and expertise of a modern-day, brought-to-life hero called Batman.

The story of Batman originated back then in the 20th century, years after Beowulf. In the comics, Batman was just a young child when he witnessed his parents’ gory death right before his eyes. He later grew up and inherited his father’s company and used the money he earns to devote his life to fighting crime in “Gotham City”. So, what makes both Beowulf and Batman heroic? What makes them heroic is their intentions for fighting evil and even more.  Epic heroes and modern-day heroes may occur from different ages in time, but they share similar qualities. Beowulf and Batman both have heroic qualities of strength and agility. Beowulf swims for seven days and fights nine sea-monsters, an achievement that most men cannot attain. He shows his power again in the battle with Grendel, wrestling with Grendel in a contest. In the comics and movies, Batman single-handedly fights gangs of criminals, but also fights big-time villains like Joker or Penguin. He not only shows his brawny strength but his courage, reflecting his heroic strength to Beowulf’s strength. Batman and Beowulf also have strong codes for justice.

Batman often releases criminals after a fight instead of killing them because the criminals were not an immediate life threat, so Batman did not feel it was right to kill them. His definition of justice does not allow for murder but rather giving them a “letting them off on a warning” kind of deal. This proves he only kills when necessary. Beowulf divulges his way of justice in his quarrel with Unferth, a character in the epic poem. Beowulf spoke upon Unferth about the punishment he would receive. He expresses his feelings to Unferth about the suffering he shall have in “hell’s fire” for murdering his brother and the never-ending torment he shall have. His way of justice isn’t playing judge, jury, and execution. Batman and Beowulf share the same ideas of justice, the one that condemns murder. Another similarity between Beowulf and Batman that is relatable is their amount of  enemies they pick up. Not only is Batman made a lot of enemies, Beowulf also has enemies that are more challenging and threatening. Batman, as you know, has many different villains like Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and more.

Beowulf has enemies like Grendel, Grendel’s mother, the dragon, and various other monsters he faces in the story. Every story about these great heroes always has to have their own villains to face, whether it is one or more. One more similarity they both shared and gained is their determination. Every heroes are always determined to face their threat without fear or hesitation. Well, for Beowulf, he didn’t flee from battle like his men did; he stayed till the very end to conquer the monsters. Also, for Batman, he stays driven on missions until he completes it. For example, he fought a villain named Bane who was bigger than he was. Even though Bane was bigger than Batman, Batman was determined to defeat Bane, by his weakness against him. So, whether both Batman and Beowulf originated from different time periods, they both still share distinct qualities. Despite the similarities, there are differences that lie behind the “man in the mask”. Beowulf and Batman held many comparable qualities, but they both represent two different heroes. Their true differences lie behind their actions and motives.

Humility has become a desired attribute in modern times today, whereas in Beowulf’s time, self-confidence to arrogance was a favorable trait. In the poem, Beowulf only fights monsters for praise and glory. Batman never reveals his identity when fighting criminals, thus showing he is not seeking praise. Batman protects innocent citizens from the kindness of his heart and justice. Another dissimilarity between Beowulf and Batman is Beowulf’s strength that Batman lacks. Since Batman does not possess super strength, he relies on his wits, gadgets, and intelligence instead of brute force in combat. Beowulf hinges on his super strength for fighting Grendel and the other monsters. During Beowulf and Grendel’s wrestle, Beowulf’s strength causes more destruction than anyone had thought humanly possible, wrecking gold fittings and mead-benches. When it comes to tactics and strategies in combat, Beowulf and Batman are not equivalent from each other. Heroes devise a plan to take down monsters or villains, but not for Beowulf. In the poem Beowulf travels great distances to prove his strength against his enemies, such as Grendel and every other beast he comes across, rather than being strategic.

Unlike Beowulf, Batman uses his intelligence, modern technology, and detective skills on crimes and warfare. When Batman fought Ra’s al Ghul in the comics, he utilizes his skills and his tech to take Ra’s al Ghul down. Without a doubt, Beowulf relies merely on strength and strength alone when battling Grendel, and Batman only relies on his expertise. Beowulf and Batman had come around from different ages, but there is one more aspect that makes them different, their background. For Beowulf, he doesn’t really have much of a background. He is anonymous character of the epic poem from Geatland who travels far to annihilate his enemies, and was later crowned king for his accomplishments. Batman has a harsh background. Before he became a “caped crusader”, Batman was about 10 years old on the night that his parents were killed right in front of his face. One of the reasons why he became Batman was to avenge his parents, but later found out that the perpetrator was hired to kill his parents. He runs a huge company, Wayne Enterprises, and works secretly with his butler, whom he was raised by, to fight crime. It’s better to be different from others than being the same because each has their own For the most part, characterization of heroes hasn’t change over the centuries. Comparing Beowulf to a more modern hero like Batman doesn’t have many exterior differences. They both use their strength to fight evil and protect those who do not deserve to be harmed.

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Beowulf and Batman: Similarities and Differences. (2020, Sep 05). Retrieved from

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