Q:

What was Beowulf's weakness?

A:

Quick Answer

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.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

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

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the plot of Beowulf?

    A:

    The epic poem "Beowulf" follows the titular hero on his quest as he saves King Hrothgar's mead hall from the beast Grendel, defeats Grendel's mother, reigns as king and eventually dies gloriously in battle with a dragon. The story follows the archetypal hero's quest structure.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the seven deadly sins of Dante's "Inferno"?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    In what way does Beowulf's sword fail him?

    A:

    Beowulf's sword Hrunting fails him in his battle with Grendel's mother by proving ineffective against her naturally-armored hide. In the original Old English poem "Beowulf," Hrunting is touted as an infallible sword, defeating every enemy encountered. Against Grendel's mother, however, Beowulf has to discard the weapon.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main conflict in the last battle of "Beowulf"?

    A:

    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 >
    Filed Under:

Explore