Dante versus Beowulf: Self-serving or God-seeking? Two classical pieces of literature, both with timeless supporters, were written in really different cultural contexts ensuing in striking differences between them. Dante Alighieri wrote Inferno in the early fourteenth century as a literary response to all of the political occurrences of Florence. The heroic poem verse form Beowulf is an Anglo-saxon heroic poem verse form reflective of medieval warring civilization in Western Europe. These two literary heroes portion their love of God but have small else in common. Beowulf is really unidimensional character while Dante ‘s character alters through his journey into snake pit. Dante ‘s psyche intent for his journey is his love for God while all of Beowulf ‘s actions serve as agencies for his ain terminals.
The development of Beowulf is non a turning procedure. The reader sees more sides to Beowulf ‘s character farther along the narrative but he is really much a inactive character. In the terminal, Beowulf is still the froward warrior who courageously charges headlong into conflict. “ Beowulf radius, made a formal self-praise for the last clip: I risked my life frequently when I was immature. Now I am old, but as male monarch of the people I shall prosecute this battle for the glorification of winning, if the evil 1 will merely abandon his earth-fort and face me in the unfastened. ” ( Beowulf lns. 2510-15 ) Looking back on his conflict with Grendel, which he did about as a cogent evidence of the repute he had built so far, that battle was really much for his ain glorification and the good of the people merely as he now says before he goes to contend the firedrake. The motives that pull him into conflict are the same. This perfect hero is mostly the same in his concluding conflict as he was when he foremost arrived to salvage the Danes. Beowulf is a hero in a epic epic- designed on intent to be perfect in all the ways that his civilization deemed as the best qualities. He is beautiful, strong, brave and really proud- all the properties that were esteemed by the warrior civilization. Beowulf ‘s unidimensional flawlessness is really different from Dante ‘s everyman.
Dante ‘s pilgrim shows much development in his character as he travels through snake pit. He is susceptible to strong emotion in the beginning of his journey- fainting from commiseration twice in the first six cantos and spliting into cryings countless other times. Dante does do the passage from bleeding-heart to a adult male who argues and fight back against the evildoers ( albeit a hypocritical action ) . Dante is speedy to hold commiseration on the hapless psyches in the beginning but it capable of rough address and action subsequently on. Dante ‘s pilgrim is a symbol for the everyman while Beowulf is a hero who is at that place to salvage the everyman. Even at the beginning of canto 1, Dante feels lost which is something that Beowulf ‘s heroic flawlessness keeps him from of all time sing. It is this alteration and growing of Dante as he finds his manner back to God that shows his true character development.
As stated earlier, Beowulf is a “ perfect ” hero and inactive character but when his actions are dissected, he can be viewed as self-serving. The expansive Geatish warrior has strong ties and commitments to his fatherland every bit good as King Hrothgar but in the terminal it can be concluded that a batch of his actions are for his ain benefit. Within a civilization that held the go forthing buttocks of a glorious bequest as a precedence, all of Beowulf ‘s actions appear to be in big portion set on this intent. Whether he is moving as a just male monarch, a adult male of God or a brave and skilled warrior, his picks ever set up his illustriousness. His demand to essentially demo off is clear in his pick to contend Grendel without any arms. “ So it wo n’t be a cutting border I ‘ll exert to cut down him down, easy as I might. He has no thought of the humanistic disciplines of war, of shield or sword-play, although he does possess a wild strength. No arms, hence, for either this dark: unarmed he shall confront me if face me he dares. ” ( Beowulf lns. 879-87 ) Still set uping his bequest – “ I marched in front of him, ever there at the forepart of the line ; and I shall contend like that for every bit long as I live ” ( 3143-3144 ) . Beowulf does his combat in the most unsafe manner he can because of his religion that this is how he wins favour with God. The old adult male that dies at the terminal is n’t that different. Not a positive feature to be so focussed on one ‘s ain bequest but given the context of his mediaeval European civilization, it was natural and seen as positive.
Dante ‘s Inferno revolves wholly around his journey to be with God, while Beowulf already sees himself as in the favour of God. While on his visit through snake pit, Dante toughens up from his bleeding-heart to reasoning and contending against psyches in snake pit. In canto 33, Dante berates Bocca and threatens him, stating, “ Either you name yourself, or no more of your hair will be left. ” ( Dante 32.98-32.99 ) Unlike Beowulf, Dante has empathy in spades but the farther he venture through snake pit, the more hypocritical his actions become. The pilgrim ‘s commiseration for the lost psyches is overtaken by his condemning of the evildoers which makes him a party to the really sins that he is reprobating. These actions show that the pilgrim is, in the terminal, merely human and is non better than anyone else. He is the everyman who is merely as capable of wickedness an anyone else. His degree of defeat turn the further he goes and he unleashes his choler on the lost psyche. But the cardinal difference between those who are paying for their wickednesss in snake pit and Dante is that his actions are coming from a topographic point of love for God. These evildoers have already been deemed as such and Dante is forcing through to acquire to God.
Although Beowulf is a really unidimensional character, he is the apogee of every perfect property needed to make a great warrior. His lone defect lies in his glory-seeking nature which is n’t to be blamed on any failing of his but on the civilization that the poet behind this heroic poem was surrounded and influenced by. Dante is much more human. He feels overpowering commiseration, empathizes with evildoers, and calls for their sorrows but he besides becomes hypocritical in his actions towards those evildoers. Beowulf is a immature hero who is brave and strong every bit good as prideful. Dante ‘s pilgrim is besides brave but besides has a more sensitive side that feels deep emotions for those he sees around him in the deepnesss of the hell. Both Dante and the poet of Beowulf wrote lead characters that have light qualities every bit good as darker 1s.