Beowulf and the Iliad can be compared as epic poems about ancient times that develop themes related to heroism and social conflict, including war. Contrasting points include that Beowulf narrowly focuses on the hero of the title, while the Iliad incorporates the hero Achilles within a wide range of characters. This distinction also extends to the treatment of warriors’ behavior: the noble Beowulf is almost always shown in positive terms, while the Iliad offers more critical perspectives on human actions during war.
Another similarity is that both are set many centuries ago and have texts based on oral traditions that have undergone numerous revisions. Beowulf takes place in northern Europe, mainly contemporary Scandinavia, while the Iliad is set in Ilium, or Troy, in contemporary Turkey. A related contrasting point is that the authorship of the most widely known version of Beowulf remains uncertain, while the Greek Homer is generally considered as the author of the Iliad, although there is debate about whether he recorded it in writing.