Beowulf And Achilles Comparison Essay

Beowulf And Achilles Comparison Essay-73
One reason Grendel seems childlike is that he has a mother.

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In angry mood he went, and from his eyes stood forth most like to flame unholy light.

He in the house espied there many a man asleep, a throng of kinsmen side by side, and band of youthful knights. He seized one sleeping man, “biting the bone-joints, drinking blood from veins, great gobbets gorging down. When wounded, he bleeds, as Beowulf soon discovers.

This unself-consciousness gives that world a sparkling vividness.

Here are Beowulf and his men, after a journey, sailing back to Geatland (this and all uncredited translations are by Tolkien): Forth sped the bark troubling the deep waters and forsook the land of the Danes.

This enrages him, and he begins incinerating the Geatish countryside.

Beowulf And Achilles Comparison Essay

Many years have passed since Beowulf killed Grendel and his mother.

Quickly he took all of that lifeless thing to be his food, even feet and hands.” How lovely, the bright-patterned floor. With his powerful hands, the hero grabs Grendel’s wrist and tears off his arm and shoulder. He then hangs the whole business—shoulder, arm, hand—from the rafters.

How appalling, Grendel’s dinner.“Beowulf” is the story of the hero’s defeat of three successive monsters. The Geats are allies of the Danes, and Beowulf, who by then seems to be about thirty, decides to go to Denmark and rid it of this menace. He is apparently about four times the size of a man. Imagine the Danish knights drinking their mead as half of Grendel’s torso drips blood onto them. (It means something that he is the only one of the three who has a name.) As Seamus Heaney, another “Beowulf” translator, has written, Grendel “comes alive in the reader’s imagination as a kind of dog-breath in the dark.” Almost with embarrassment, you pity him somewhat.

He has become the King of the Geats and ruled them for fifty years. Still, to protect his people he must eliminate this menace. One young knight, Wiglaf, stayed and, unbeknownst to the King, followed him close behind.

He sets out, but “heavy was his mood.” Speaking to his knights, he reviews his great deeds. In what is probably the poem’s most iconic image, he goes and sits on a promontory that juts out over the sea. Beowulf will soon be part of nature—the land, the sea.) As always, he insists on going into the contest alone. The dragon emerges from the cave, “blazing, gliding in loopéd curves.” Beowulf brings his huge sword down on the monster’s body, but, as with Grendel’s mother, it doesn’t make a dent. His blood “welled forth in gushing streams.”Will he lose the fight? Seeing Beowulf wounded, Wiglaf rushes forth and stabs the dragon “a little lower down.” As the poet is too polite to say, Wiglaf took better aim than Beowulf did, and thus weakened the dragon to the point where the old man could go in for the kill.


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