Gilgamesh vs. Beowulf

True Heroes

What Made Beowulf a Hero?

Beowulf was seen as hero by all who came in contact with him not just because of his physical stature but an inner glow that radiated for everyone to see. This could be most observed when he was addressed by the cost guard in the story.

"Nor have I seen
a mightier man-at-arms on this earth
than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken,
he is truly noble. This is no mere
hanger-on in a hero's armour." (244-251)

Beowulf's unmatched courage

Some would call it foolish pride but I would call it courage and belief in himself that propelled Beowulf to engage in such an act as battling Grendel in hand to hand combat.

"I have heard moreover that the monster scorns
in his reckless way to use weapons;
therefore, to heighten Hygelac's fame
and gladden his heart, I hereby renounce
sword and the shelter of the broad shield,
the heavy war-board: hand-to-hand
is how it will be, a life-and-death
fight with the fiend." (433-440)

Gilgamesh King of Uruk

Gilgamesh is seen as a great warrior but is perplexed by death and is willing to do whatever it takes to become immortal. Many realize his strength and courage but also question him.

"He walks around in the enclosure of Uruk,
like a wild bull he makes himself mighty, head raised (over others).
There is no rival who can raise his weapon against him.
His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his (orders?),
and the men of Uruk become anxious in …
Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father,
day and night he arrogantly(?)" … (1.51-58)"

Webcam video from December 8, 2014 03:50 PM