Essay on Analysis Of Beowulf 's ' The Epic Of Beowulf '

1652 Words Nov 22nd, 2015 7 Pages
In the Epic of Beowulf, Beowulf’s confidence undergoes an evolution. He soon battles Grendel with firm self-confidence. Later, when he fights Grendel’s mother, this confidence enlarges and morphs into the furious aggression of pride. By the time Beowulf engages in his last battle, he exhibits arrogance, if not hubris. This excessive pride is Beowulf’s unchecked, rising confidence that leads to his ultimate downfall. In other words, his “overweening ambition” is his fatal flaw (hamartia). Yet, as the story makes clear, Beowulf’s hamartia is not only ultimately a heroic flaw, but also his greatest asset. When Beowulf is young, his confidence suits his youthful physical agility. As he grows older, he refuses to adjust his confidence level to match that of his decreasing abilities. In this paper, I examine the three main occasions that illustrate Beowulf’s hamartia, in his epic battles against Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. In relation to this, I analyze the use of imagery, as well as the evolution of Beowulf’s hamartia in light of Hegel’s paradigm of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
Beowulf’s hamartia first appears when he battles Grendel. His hamartia, at least at this point in the plot, is merely his confidence in himself. Confidence brings Beowulf to Hrothgar’s defense to begin with. When Beowulf hears of the terrible monster that is Grendel and Hrothgar’s need for a warrior-protector, Beowulf announces his plan and sails off to “seek out that king,/the famous…

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