A hero is defined in classical mythology as a man, especially the son of a god and a mortal, who is famous for possessing some extraordinary gift. Beowulf, the title character of an epic poem and Superman, a more modern day hero are both prime examples. Beowulf and Superman exhibit several differences, but they also share some similar qualities.
Beowulf possessed great strength that separated him from other men. Being able to use a sword that no ordinary man was able to carry gives the feeling that Beowulf is something more than a human being. It makes him special and causes him to stand out from all other men. Fame is something that makes a hero more noted. Beowulf's popularity had spread all over the world. He never let this go to his head and he never thought that he was better than everyone else because of it.
By engaging in this foolish contest, Beowulf nearly got himself killed trying to prove he was better than Brecca. Jealousy is never a good trait, especially for a hero. Revenge is never a trait of a true hero. A hero has no scores to settle. A true hero should fight only to protect others and not out of his own rage. Also, with Beowulf being a human being, he was not invincible. Beowulf didn't realize this until he fought the dragon. He knew nothing of the dragon, it's strengths, weaknesses or powers. Beowulf found out what the dragon was capable of and what its powers were. He knew that it could breathe fire, so he got a shield that would protect him. He planned his attack and thought it trough carefully. He was doubtful about himself and knew that this battle would be his last.
Superman, also known as Clark Kent, is one of the most popular modern day hero(not as cool as Batman mind you but relates better to Beowulf). Superman spent most of his time saving people from natural disasters and corrupt businessmen. He would level slums to force the city to build decent housing, and he would use his powers to terrorize munitions makers and evil monsters.
When Superman encounters Kryptonite for the first time it first appears as a green glowing substance, which Superman uses his powers on to trace its origin. Superman then pays for his discovery of Kryptonite when Luthor learns to synthesize it, causing it to be a very dangerous threat to superman. Gravity of Earth did not prove to be a good enough reason for Superman's powers, thus they attributed his super-senses to the yellow sun radiation, and his muscular strength, speed, and flight due to the Earth's gravity. Due to the new explanation of his powers, Superman no longer had super powers on a world without a yellow sun. Lex Luthor and other villains began to create weapons that used "red sun radiation" which made Superman's life miserable.
During the course of the battle for Truth and Justice, man and sword came together at last. Holding the sword, Superman found himself expanding, spreading across the winds of the universe. The entire history of creation flooded his mind, and his consciousness expanded as he became and all-seeing and all knowing protector. He then released the sword. The sword told him of his greatness, and then headed back into space waiting for him to retrieve it and fulfill his destiny. He had gone from being just one of many super-beings from a super-planet, to being one of the best heroes of the human race (Batman is the best). Beowulf and Superman exhibit several differences, but they also share some similar qualities. In our time, they are both considered to be extraordinary heroes.