Hamlet vs. Beowulf

Topics: Epic poetry, Beowulf, Grendel's mother Pages: 3 (1062 words) Published: February 1, 2013
How do the protagonists from Beowulf and Hamlet compare? Though both play a major role in an epic story, they share a few common viewpoints. The outcome of both stories is greatly influenced by the main character’s struggles in life. The situations that occur throughout these stories also impact the narratives. In addition, the various characters in each work influence the protagonists’ choices and lives. Each is involved in themes which can easily relate to those of modern day society, although Beowulf and Hamlet live in completely different times.

Beowulf is the ideal warrior; he is a strong, fearless fighter and a fantastic leader who goes to immutable extremes to protect his people. When his country is threatened by what is thought to be an undefeatable beast named Grendel, Beowulf does the impossible and slays the monster. Hamlet, on the other hand, is not a leader like Beowulf whatsoever. Hamlet is not even a king or recognized as a leader. Hamlet’s father was murdered, and afterwards he simply wants to go back to school to learn. It is not until much thought and preparation that he makes it his mission to have his father’s revenge. If Beowulf was placed in the same situation, he would have instantly killed the man responsible for the murder.

From the beginning of this epic poem, Beowulf is not loved as a child and is told he will never be a leader, thus giving him the motivation to become one of the greatest warriors ever. His only fear is failure, in battle and as a leader. He takes on such a large role as a warrior that his fellow countrymen do not see the need to ever prepare to fight because Beowulf is all the warrior they need. This ultimately results in much pain and struggle when Beowulf finds himself in need of assistance. Hamlet is as much of an introvert as Beowulf is an extrovert. Hamlet prefers to study instead of fight and learn over battle. Hamlet’s parents love him, but his mother is a shallow woman who marries his...
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