Beowulf vs. Arthur

A paper which compares the heroic tendencies of the characters in “Beowulf” (author unknown) and King Arthur who is portrayed in various tales by several authors.

The paper discusses how the characters Beowulf and King Arthur who appear through literary history in various tales, both possess many of the same characteristics, characteristics found in great heroes. It shows that both of them had quests to protect innocent people from evil; both were blessed by God; both fought with great courage and pride. Although King Arthur had no supernatural powers as Beowulf did, he did possess several comparable traits– they were both physically strong, morally right, and both shared a passion for what they did. The paper shows that using these qualities, they both protected mankind from evil, both rescued family and friends from evil circumstances, and both gained immortality.
“Every hero, as a general rule, desires to be remembered for more than one heroic tendency. Every hero in World Literature class has at least three common tendencies: to protect mankind from evil, to use his powers to rescue his family and friends from evil circumstances, and to earn immortality via his heroic tendencies. Beowulf, an Anglo-Saxon hero, has all three characteristics. His quest is to restore Herot, due to the mass destruction caused by the monster Grendel, the evilest of all evils. Grendel had been terrorizing the city, killing thousands of men in their sleep, depriving them the ability to fight back. King Hrothgar hired the brave knight Beowulf to defeat the creature of darkness. The knight boldly hunted Grendel and fought him with great might. At the end of that particular battle, Beowulf left with Grendel’s arm, his sign of triumph. Nevertheless, Grendel’s mother became furious over the death of her son, and decided that she needed to prolong her son’s rampage. She began the slaughter of innocent people in Herot. Beowulf commenced a brawl with her and soon had her head.”