Beowulf vs. Achilles
The stories of Beowulf and Achilles have many parallels, including the character’s traits. Beowulf and Achilles are both leading characters with an intense plot that circles around them, displaying their heroic traits and themes that they show throughout the two epics.
The epic Beowulf centers and focuses almost solely on Beowulf’s heroic traits. One of the first heroic traits shown through Beowulf is his generosity, faithfulness, and loyalty. Once he receives news of Grendel’s aggression on the Danes, he immediately volunteers to go help the Danes, even though he has no personal connection to them. In doing this, Beowulf shows that he is loyal to not only to himself, but to others.
Achilles, although not as selfless a hero as Beowulf for most of The Iliad, is a hero. Achilles is of godly lineage, by being the son of the goddess Thetis. He by far the greatest warrior involved in the Trojan War. He is unstoppable on the battlefield, singlehandedly killing multitudes of men. His strength is unmatched by anyone else and is superior to any other warrior.
While Beowulf has positive pride, Achilles has negative pride. Beowulf is proud of his accomplishments, but does not think highly of himself. Achilles thinks he is the best and is too proud for his own good. He endangers others in the war out of his pride. They lose many men and Patroclus because of his tragic flaw. They are both well-known warriors, but Beowulf is justified in his killing while Achilles is not. Beowulf killed to protect and Achilles killed out of revenge and hatred. They are both superhuman too, with both being unnaturally strong. Beowulf is loyal to those friends and people while Achilles abandons his fellow warriors and friends and lets them fight their own war. Beowulf is heroic and admirable, while Achilles is less heroic in most of his actions and rather loathsome.