Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hamlet Versus Beowulf

In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare has Hamlet speak differently from epic heroes such as Beowulf. Both of the two heroes speak about and highly value honor. They both seek to gain and redeem their honor.  In the epic poems such as Beowulf, the heroes think more about how people see them and how their honor is perceived by others. Hamlet is the opposite. Hamlet thinks more about how he sees his own honor. He is self-conscience about himself, while Beowulf would be proud and pompous.
The main driving force behind the plot of Beowulf is his want for more honor and recognition among the people. For Hamlet, the driving force is the want to redeem his father's and his own honor. Beowulf goes to the Danes to kill Grendel so that he may gain honor and riches. While he is there, he is very hubris and puts himself at the center of the show. His pride and honor even get himself killed when he goes to kill a dragon by his own seventy year old self at the end of the poem.Hamlet is very different.
Hamlet questions himself is he should even pursue the idea of finding out if Claudius even killed his father. Through out the rest of the play Hamlet questions himself whether or not he should continue with his plan. He questions his own honor when he hears that Fortinbras is invading his home with 20,000 troops who will all die over a piece of land they all think is worthless just for the honor of Fortinbras loosing to Hamlet's father years ago over a simple little squabble. I wouldn't say that Hamlet is a sissy and Beowulf is a man, even  though it can look like that sometimes, but Hamlet is definitely much more self-conscience and even paranoid to some extent.
Hamlet is a very different hero compared to Beowulf. Although both seek honor, Beowulf is more focused on how other people perceive his honor, while Hamlet worries about how he sees his own honor.Hamlet differs from heroes like Beowulf for that reason of how he speaks and thinks about the situations in the plot.

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