The comparison between "The Iliad" and "Beowulf" falls along the lines of a comparison of one myth to another. They both are great examples of Epic poems. They are written in the same general fashion of an Epic poem. Beowulf is a poem about Prince Bewulf, a great warrior. He very much resembles the one and only Achilles. They show a number of similar caritaristics and also a number of differences. Beowulf comes to the aid of King Hrothgar to kill the Grendel monster that lives in the bottom of a swamp.
The Grendel monster has already killed 30 of Hrothgar's men. Beowulf takes 14 of his best men and brings them to Herot, which is Hrothgar's castle. The men arrive to open arms from Hrothgar. He promises Beowulf and the rest of his men treasures beyond his wildest dreams. This excites Beowulf being the materialistic person that he is, and he cannot wait until he sees the beast. King Hrothgar has a banquet for Beowulf and his men where they celebrate their arrival. This celebration shows the hospitality that is shown throughout the epic "The Iliad." They just open their doors to Beowulf and his men and treat them as if they were life long friends.
Even though they have never met each other before in their life. They just have an understanding that being hospitable is the way they live their life. There is one big difference in "The Iliad"; the trust between two strangers is broken because of the Kidnapping of Helen by Paris's when he is a visitor in the house of Menealos. This sparks a war the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Beowulf shows the bravery of the great Achilles when the Grendel comes to the hall of King Hrothgar. Beowulf proves that he was going to live up to his word and he was going to show them that he was in fact the warrior that he said he was.
He tore the Grendel limp from limp literally. He ripped off his arms; the Grendel escapes the deadly warrior Beowulf and returns to his dwelling under the murky lake. In this scene Beowulf shows greatness in such a powerful way that only one other could do the same himself, one of the Greatest warrior in history Achilles. Beowulf is in fact much stronger then Achilles in some ways. When the Greeks needed Achilles the most he was pouting off somewhere because he didn't think hewas getting the respect that he disserved.
That isn't the type of person that Beowulf is because he doesn't care so much what people think and it seems that he only wants to help people however he can. He almost has a cockiness about him that makes him even more powerful in the fighting scenes. The great warriors had no idea just what they were in store for the Grande's mother was very upset with the murder of her son and wanted nothing but revenge on the warriors. She devised a plan in order to kill Beowulf and the rest of his 14-man army. The fact that the Grendel's mother came back to avenge her sons death showed that this Epic is very much like the epic "The Iliad."
It almost makes it more like a war because of all of the battles and the revenge boiling in the blood of the fighters. The mother of Grendel sneaks into the Hergot Hall and steals out Esher. Who is the king's number one servant. Beowulf swims to the bottom of the lake where he finds the Grendel's Mother. He fights her kills with a magic sword found in the wall but not before she can kill Esher. He then sees the Grendel himself and cuts the head off his dead body and brings it back to show his men their accomplishments.
This victory is very similar to the one of Achilles in "the Iliad when he defeats Hektor. He ties him to the Chariot and drags him across the dusty plains back to the ships. Both Achilles and Beowulf show the brutalities of war. In each of their victories they show that both have quite a temper and cannot control their actions in war. Beowulf cuts off the head of the Grendel and Achilles destroys the body of Hektor. Hrothgar gives Beowulf even more treasures for his men and himself. He shows his gratitude by giving Beowulf a hug and just letting him know how much he saved lives of many.
Beowulf is the kind of man that loves fame and attention. He was happy he could help the Danish people but he just loves fame and attention. That is why he does what he does. Beowulf leaves and is headed back to his home in Sweden. When he arrives home he is praised by King Higlac and is given land sword and houses for his bravery. Achilles fights for his country and his people while Beowulf seems like he would rather fight for himself and for money and riches. Both warriors seem to be similar but they are in fact very different.
When King Higlac dies Beowulf is the new ruler of the thrown. By this time Beowulf is almost a 70-year-old man and is the ruler of Sweden. He still seems to have the same mentality of a 20 year old. A dragon is awakening and is breathing fire all over the place and burning down houses including a part of Beowulf's castle. This puts Beowulf in rage and he is out to destroy the Dragon he goes to where the Dragon lives. Like a true warrior Beowulf attacks the Dragon head on and slashes him in the side with his sword. This makes the dragon very angry and the dragon attacks him and covers him in flames.
Beowulf in a final dieing act cuts the Dragon in half with his sword. Beowulf is buried with the dragon's treasures so that he knows that he didn't die for any reason. Beowulf shows a very different attitude as an old man then he did as a young youth. As a leader Beowulf fights for the people and nobody else. He wanted to be known as a leader and somebody that would fight for his people even if the odds were stacked against him. This is very much like the great warrior Achillies because he is the same way with his reasoning for fighting. He is the kind of person that will fight for his country and his people until there is nothing left.
Achillies has the odds stacked against him throughout the entire epic because of his young age. He was mealy just a kid when the war started but by the time he came down to his battle with Hektor. There are many differences between the two very occomllished warriors and there are also a number of simularities between the two also. These two great warriors go though the same changes and they both prove that they fight for the same reason the people. They both have the same mindset towards fighting and they are both very dangerous that are very feared by society.
People say that Achillies went though a period of almost insanity and he could have killed any and everyone if he wanted to, he was just inreged. Beowulf goes though the same motion. It is the war setting it takes you over with an uncontrolable force. After he becomes ruler of Sweden he wants to fight for his people he may be to old and weak to do so but he still has the heart of a warrior and he feels he needs to fight the Dragon in order to prove himself as a true King. These two warriors seem to be differnt but at the same time are much alike.
Alexander, Michael. Beowulf. London: Penguin Books, 1973