An epic hero is defined as the central figure in a long narrative that reflects the values and heroic ideals of a particular society. The Odyssey, translated by Fitzgerald, is about an epic hero trying to get to his home after twenty long years. Beowulf, which is translated, by Burton raffle, is about a warrior who killed monsters and saved a city. In both epic stories there are similarities and differences; primarily these similarities and differences focus on the themes of women, character style, and religion.
First off, women play major roles in both epics. In The Odyssey women were treated as slaves. They did not have control of themselves at all, the men did. For example, Odysseus ordered these women to pick up the bodies of the dead suitors and clean up the bloody hall. "These dead must be disposed first of all. Direct the women. Tables and chairs will be scrubbed with sponges, rinsed and rinsed again." (Fitzgerald, Book XXII 397-399). Whether it was serving the men with wine and food or cleaning up, it was impossible for them to step into a man's shoes. The women in Beowulf on the other hand, tried to be warriors, but they could not. A difference is that in The Odyssey the women were known as whores. The reason why is because there were many times when Odyssey slept with other women or when they tried to throw themselves at him throughout his journey. Also, the women that were at the hall were sleeping with the suitors. "I would not give the clean death of a beast to trulls who made a mockery of my mother and of me too-you sluts, who lay with suitors." (Fitzgerald, Book XXI 514-516). A similarity that both of these epics have is that they treat the queens with loyalty and respect. "Hrothgar's gold-ringed queen, greeted the warriors; a noble woman who knew what was right." (Raffel 346-348). This shows how the women play a major role in both epics. .
Next, is the character style of Odysseus and Beowulf, who actually have many differences.