Do the characters of Antigone and Beowulf both have a different set of ethics and sensibility that make it challenging for us to understand them?  This is for a comparison essay of the two works...

Do the characters of Antigone and Beowulf both have a different set of ethics and sensibility that make it challenging for us to understand them?

 

This is for a comparison essay of the two works Antigone and Beowulf. I was thinking about how they both view death.

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both myths have views of death and tradition that vary from modern readers' views.  For example, in Antigone, the title character believes that it is worth risking her life to bury her brother's body so that he will travel safely to the underworld.  She is not simply trying to show him honor; but rather, her culture has taught her that she--as a Greek woman--must properly prepare her brother's corpse.

Similarly, when Beowulf meets his end after long years of heroism and reigning, his people burn his remains because they are afraid of being attacked by their enemies. In today's societies, it would be extremely unusual to witness a renowned leader's body being burned on a pyre and then buried with treasure--this is more reminiscent of the ancient Egyptians and other cultures which prepare their dead with gifts and supplies for the afterlife.