Characteristics of Beowulf as a Tragic Hero

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

Beowulf and Macbeth Beowulf, identified as an epic hero and Macbeth, identified as a tragic hero both are very similar and different in their own ways. The epic poem, Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney and the tragic play, Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare both have heroes as the protagonist of the story. The stories written in two different time periods, still can be seen with many similarities and differences. A tragic hero is of high ranking and unfortunately has a flaw that they possess which brings them to their tragic downfall and soon accepts the consequences that are to come.

An epic hero is larger than life and is known to be noble and brave. Beowulf and Macbeth both possess traits of overconfidence through their actions but what is lacking between them is that Macbeth is ambitious whereas Beowulf is full of courage. In contrast Macbeth, Thane of Glamis and Beowulf, Thane of the Geats both became king through different methods.

They became of higher power through overconfidence. Beowulf from beginning to end is always overconfident of himself. He becomes king because he is considered to be a good warrior, proud, and fearless. Macbeth uses outside help, the witches, and relies on his own ways of becoming a higher rank. Macbeth uses his strengths to play everyone and this led him to be overconfident and boastful.

Beowulf was always the stronger of the two because his confidence was already within him whereas Macbeth gained his confidence after he assassinated the king and got away with it. They both had a sense of boastfulness among them and believed they would never be brought down. Eventually this brought them down in the end. Macbeth accepted the consequences of his actions in the end because he said ‘Bring it after me. I will not be afraid of death and bane… ‘ (Macbeth. V. III. 59). Beowulf is killed by a dragon because he was always confident of himself and believed he would be able to defeat the dragon at an old age. Beowulf is given a proper and well respected burial whereas Macbeth is disliked and is not given the proper burial. Macbeth’s ambitiousness led him to being an overconfident character and Beowulf is a great warrior that everyone looked up to was full of pride and courage.

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