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.
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
Themes that are present in "Beowulf" include loyalty, reputation, generosity, hospitality, envy, revenge, the search for identity, the difference between good warriors and good kings, fame, pride, Christianity and Paganism. Beowulf personifies loyalty throughout the story, while the characters of King Hrothgar and Queen Wealhtheow exemplify generosity and hospitality.Full Answer >
The depictions of Anglo-Saxon culture in "Beowulf" include displays of strength, valor, honor and boastfulness of early epic traditions. Though many scholars believe that "Beowulf" was transcribed by a Christian monk, much of the pagan tradition that preceded Christianity was retained.Full Answer >
Beowulf is concerned primarily with matters of identity and ideology. It could be said that the main struggle in the poem is between individual self-determination and heritage, and the many conflicts in codes and morality that stem from this tension.Full Answer >
According to the text of the poem, the main conflict in the last battle of "Beowulf" is between Beowulf and the dragon. Aided by a young noble named Wiglaf, Beowulf fights a dragon that has been terrorizing the land of the Geats, over which Beowulf rules as king. Though he succeeds in defeating the monster, he dies himself, leaving his people in grief.Full Answer >