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“Beowulf” vs “The 13th Warrior” Comparison

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Beowulf and the 13th Warrior are two stories that are centered around the Anglo-Saxon culture and even though they have many things in common, there are a few key differences to the stories. These are two great stories that portray the Anglo-Saxon culture very well. The two stories both show good and evil, different companions, and how they memorialize the dead. The written story, Beowulf, can only describe some of the gruesome details. The movie however brought out some of those details into full light. Such as, when the North Men pass around their “community bowl.” It does not seem vastly surprising if that had actually occurred in the barbaric culture. Even though the Anglo-Saxon people seem barbaric they are still quite an organized culture.

Beowulf is quite different in how it portrays good and evil than its counterpart 13th Warrior. In Beowulf from the beginning it is very clearly defined who the hero is going to be. Beowulf always knows exactly what kind of evil he is going up against every time he fought. The people had told Beowulf about Grendel, Grendel’s mom and the dragon. This is rather different in the 13th Warrior. In 13th Warrior Ahmad doesn’t even want to go on an adventure, and even when he is called upon by the north men to go help king Hrogarth. When Ahmad gets Denmark he does not even know what he is supposed to be fighting. He is called there to talk after all, not fight.

Beowulf’s companions are nowhere near as capable as Ahmad’s. Beowulf gives his fellow companions all their equipment and has brought them from the bottom up. Beowulf’s fellow warriors always tag along during his adventures, but when he needs them the most in his final battle, they all run except for one. Wiglaf is able to finish off the dragon, but not before it kills Beowulf. In 13th warrior, the companions of Ahmad are extremely strong both physically and mentally. In the movie one of the warriors got their head ripped clean off and it did not even faze the other warriors. In modern day, even in combat this would be a huge psychological factor to see one of your fellow companions get his head ripped off, but in this battle the other soldiers kept fighting like nothing had happened. All of the warriors would all fight and die for each other as some of them did throughout the movies. The same could not be said about Beowulf and his “friends.”

There are a lot of similarities in Beowulf and the 13th warrior in how they memorialized the dead. In Beowulf after Beowulf dies he leaves the throne to Wiglaf who is said to be one of the last great geats. Before Beowulf died he wished for a great memorial to be built in his honor. This is extremely important in the Anglo-Saxon culture because with a memorial he could live forever through memories. Beowulf is cremated and had his ashes along with the great treasure he had collected from having the dragon killed inside the memorial. In the 13th warrior, Bulwyne is one of the better warriors and died in the final battle of the movie. Bulwyne wanted to die like a king and got his wish, at the end of the battle he with the Wendols, he is seen sitting on the throne. He is also cremated like Beowulf.

These are great stories that portray the Anglo-Saxon culture quite well. The movie really brought out some of the detail that the story just could necessarily portray. The 13th Warrior and Beowulf have many things to compare and contrast, however the comparisons between good and evil, different companions, and how they memorialize the dead stuck out the most. The Anglo-Saxon people are a strong and courageous people that had truly heroic values. The story and movie really brought out the true Anglo-Saxons.

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