Q:

What was Beowulf's weakness?

A:

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.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is a summary of the theme of "Beowulf"?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of Grendel's mother in Beowulf?

    A:

    In the poem "Beowulf," Grendel's mother is described as a female monster and sea hag. She generally lacks humanity, but she does seek revenge for her son's death, which can be viewed as a distinctly human quality. Full Answer >

    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some examples of caesura in Beowulf?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does "Beowulf" reflect the Anglo-Saxon culture?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:

Explore