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Beowulf and The Iliad

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When comparing the major themes of Good vs. Evil and Life and Death to find that the two themes are the biggest themes in an epic. The elements are present toward what the type of reflection and will be touched on all keys. Beowulf and The Iliad both have references to the themes of Good vs. Evil and Life and Death and will be looked at separately.

Beowulf shows a very equal standing toward Good vs. Evil and Life and Death and is noted and cited all through the epic poem. In the very beginning of Beowulf the first noted themes of Good vs. Evil is become present. “Grendel, who haunted the moors- split from forms of evil.” is the first noted theme of evil in Beowulf while “In his far away home Beowulf….the strongest of the Geats” shows the first noted good in the epic poem.

In Beowulf the other strong theme involved in this epic poem and many others is Life and Death. When coming upon the death aspect in the theme hearing “Grendel came, hoping to kill anyone” show that death is approaching heavily in the near future of the epic. While hearing “Then old and young rejoiced” after the death of all the creatures Beowulf killed show the Life aspect of the theme since it shows the people had valued life over death.

Now the next epic poem to compare is The Iliad. Of course the epic will be still analyzed for the two major themes. However I believe that there are a stronger sense of Life and Death rather than the theme of Good vs. Evil in this epic poem. Even though one of the themes may be more obvious than the others doesn’t mean there isn’t cases of both shown.

Seeing how the sense of Good vs. Evil is lacking in a review of the epic poem and more of a Life and Death I was only able to find a one noted cited that would be considered Good vs. Evil. “The angry Achilles Chose not to battle while Hector chose to only want to take Achilles on”. When reading that cite it shows Achilles being the Good aspect since he chose not to fight only for glory while Hector only wanting to fight Achilles showing his greediness and arrogance making him the evil aspect. Any of the other citing from The Iliad all refers back to Hector and Achilles making them the only true Good vs. Evil match up that was a main cause for the story.

Now on to the next theme which is Life and Death, which in comparison is a stronger and vaster in the Iliad than Good vs. Evil. In the epic poem the Iliad for one the whole plot of the epic is caused by the death of Achilles friend Patroclus. The first case of death is noted that “Achilles seeks to avenge Patroclus by slaughtering Trojans”. So by readings that it shows the sense of death soon to come to a character in the near future. Also to show the need and want for life is when Priam ask Achilles” It is for him that I have come these steps to beg him back for us.” Which hearing this shows that the theme Life is still wanted even after death so that there is a sense of living always.

Overall the two epic poems both showed their senses of the major themes of Good vs. Evil and Life and Death. All citing and notation were based off of the two main characters of each poem since they were always tied into every theme the epic poems had surfaced.

Sources page

|Book(s) cited |Language of literature By McDougal Littell | |Authors Noted |Arthur N. Applebee | | |Andrea B. Bermudez | | |Sheridan Blau | | |Rebekah Caplun | | |Peter Elbow | | |Susan Hynds | | |Judith A. Langer | | |James
Marshall | |Excerpts Used |Iliad: books 18,22,and 24 | | |Beowulf: Grendel, Beowulf, Battle with Grendel, Grendel’s Mother,| | |Battle with Grendel’s Mother, Beowulf’s last battle, Death of | | |Beowulf, Mourning of Beowulf |

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