Beowulf's only weaknesses are his ego and pride, which lead him to recklessly take on challenges alone. This sets him apart from Greek and Roman heroes, who always have a tragic flaw that leads to their destruction.Know More
After a night of boasting, Beowulf takes on the dreaded monster Grendel and then dives deep into a pool after Grendel's deadly mother. Beowulf does these things without fear, sometimes even without weapons, with the confidence that he will succeed.
Even when he is older and weaker, he tackles a dragon by himself. When he is mortally wounded in defeating the dragon, he accepts the fate that decreed he would die at that point. This separates Beowulf from the Greek classical heroes, whose fates were caused by their own bad choices at critical moments. Beowulf must fight the dragon or accept the death of many. In fighting it, he demonstrated Western fatalism, rather than Greek hamartia.Learn more about Classics
The seven deadly sins of Dante's "Inferno" are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Dante crossed paths with souls condemned to eternal damnation as he journeyed through the Inferno, gaining deeper understanding as he studied their plight. The sinners that Dante encountered were being punished for the specific deadly sin which they were most guilty of in life.Full Answer >
The poem "Beowulf" has a caesura in almost every line. In fact, because the caesura was one of the fundamental features of Old English poetry, almost all poems written in that language have numerous examples of caesurae.Full Answer >
The monsters in "Beowulf" are all broadly symbolic of the marginal outsider in society, something to be isolated and destroyed to maintain social order. However, each monster has its own specific significance, whether drawing on biblical or mythological symbolism.Full Answer >
Beowulf embodies Anglo-Saxon ideals of conduct — which included integrity and dignity — through his heroic monster-slayings, proving both his bravery and, as king in the final episode, his loyalty to his people. Some scholars have argued, however, that in sacrificing himself, Beowulf did a disservice to his people by leaving them without a king.Full Answer >