Beowulf vs Ulysses
September 25, 2013 Compare & Contrast: Ulysses and Beowulf When an individual envisions epic poetry, you can’t help but think of dragons, heroes and huge battles. In the two epic poems Ulysses by Lord Tennyson and Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel, you find the two major heroes who are very intelligent above all other heroic attributes. Throughout each epic, you find the hero using the combination of strength, intelligence and unbreakable courage. The heroes are natural born leaders, that others around them cannot help but be mesmerized by. A major connected between the two epics was the definition of leadership is evident.
Through the journeys of the main characters, Beowulf and Ulysses are each portrayed as heroes in the poems as they lead their men on great adventures. While both display many characteristics of heroes and leaders, Beowulf’s first act of leadership in the poem is when he offers to fight Grendel unarmed. This is an example of leadership because he is standing up above everyone else, when all the other men are scared to. While all the other men are fearful and worried about Grendel attacking, Beowulf is able to stay fearlessly as he awaited the arrival of Grendel.
From Ulysses poem it is evident he was a true leader, captaining ships and winning many battles in the Trojan War. Beowulf was also a very prideful individual, for example in his fight against Grendle. He was trying to seem heroic fighting without a weapon. You can also see this as an example of Beowulf’s enormous about of pride; he wants the glory from killing Grendle and that glory would be given if he killed him without a weapon. “But Beowulf only longed for fame leaped back ? Into battle. He tossed his sword aside, Angry; the steel-edged blade lay where ? He’d dropped it. If weapons were useless he’d use ? is hands, the strength in his fingers. So fame comes to the men who mean to win it and care about nothing else! ” (Line 605-608) In the quote it is so present that Beowulf only seeks fame, and glory of defeating Grendel. Ulysses just like Beowulf is full of pride that surrounds him. He considers himself a symbol for everyone who wanders and roams the earth. Ulysses is much older now, reminiscing in this long epic. He says to his fellow older heroes they should get on a boat and sail into the sunset as they die. He is so prideful he even believes he will go to an island for heroes, proclaimed in Greek mythology.