Ancient and modern heroes have many similarities and differences. Heroes, in general, have many characteristics that are similar. Heroes are brave, strong, independent and determined. Beowulf and SEAL Team Six is both brave leaders who put themselves in harms way. Although they are alike, there are several differences between the two.
SEAL Team Six fight day to day in conditions they have never prepared for. The team encounters brutal attacks, low ration of food, inoperative equipment, and hazardous situations. SEAL Team Six not only fight but also serve on rescue missions. For example, SEAL Team Six rescued Captain Richard Phillips after four Somali pirates took him hostage in April of 2009. The SEAL’s had no idea what they were getting themselves into other than knowing they had to save a citizen. Beowulf endeavored similar situations when having to fight Grendel. Beowulf saw what happened to his teammates after Grendel’s attack, so he then set out to fight him, even when Beowulf had never seen Grendel before. The warrior Beowulf fought him out of loyalty and compassion.
Beowulf has been accredited for his fighting and bravery, Beowulf even says himself “ When it comes to fighting, I count myself / as dangerous any day as Grendel”. Throughout the poem Beowulf is being congratulated for his heroic acts, however for the SEAL’s, they are being accredited for their actions as a whole. Beowulf is “rewarded by gifts, of armors, horses, and weapons”, while no one specifically in SEAL Team Six is congratulated. Unlike the Navy SEALS Beowulf envied on the fame and fortune that came along with fighting in battles. Beowulf was “granted the glory of winning” after defeating Grendel. For the Navy SEAL’s “winning” a war or a rescue is never considered a “win”, it is considered a rescue or a favor to humanity. In fact in today’s society it is frowned upon for seeking fame and fortune in heroic acts, it should be done out of character.
Both the Navy SEAL’s and Beowulf are heroic people, but one is real and the other is fictional. Beowulf, in his time, is considered a hero for fighting off the monsters and a fire breathing dragon but his enemies were fictional. SEAL Team Six’s enemies are real people who think having control over people or committing hate crimes is an acceptable thing to do. If Beowulf was to be compared to a fictional modern day hero like Superman, it would be hard to then determine which is better. Beowulf’s ego would get the best of him since he desired fame and wanted the attention. In the end both the SEAL’s and Beowulf held characteristics of a hero but SEAL Team Six in today’s society is more honorable than Beowulf would have been.