The Characterities Of Beowulf, And Macbeth As A Tragic Hero

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A tragic hero is defined as a protagonist of a tragedy with specific characteristics. Usually, tragic heroes are able to evoke pity or fear from an audience, and can be relatable to ordinary people. For example, in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is pitied because she is split apart from Romeo because of family ties, and she is also relatable because she displays human characteristics such as sadness and love. Secondly, tragic heroes have some type of goodness and have great stature. However, despite all these positive attributes, a tragic hero usually has a flaw of error, excessive pride, and a major reversal of fortune. For example, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince Hamlet is a man of noble status, but is led to destruction by his tragic…show more content…
Beowulf has the noble status of the prince of the Geats, making his death seem unbelievable because of his superior nobility and courageousness. While the Danish coast guard observes Beowulf, he says, “Nor have I seen / a mightier man-at-arms on this earth / than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken, / he is truly noble” (247 – 250). In the beginning of the epic poem, Beowulf truly exemplifies the identity of a courageous hero, and he also has the noble status of a prince. His appearance is bold and intimidating, giving people the impression that he is an audacious hero of great significance. This makes the readers admire Beowulf, and this is quite ironic, because later in the poem Beowulf is pitied as a tragic warrior who is killed in a gory battle with a dragon. When the readers pity Beowulf, they remember how they admired Beowulf for his nobility and courageousness, leading the readers to feel shocked and feel bad for him even more. Beowulf is of high noble status and he is ruthlessly valiant in his actions, “Beowulf is a prince of the Geats, a tribe living in what is now southern Sweden. He is peerlessly noble, brave, and strong. Each of his hands has a grip equal to that of thirty men” (Acocella 10). Beowulf is the prince of the Geats, and he is known for his courageous actions and supernatural strength. Tragic heroes, like Beowulf,…show more content…
Beowulf has the fatal flaw of pride, making him fearless and independent during battle, thus leading to his untimely death and making him a tragic hero, instead of an epic hero. Beowulf disregards the dragon’s potential danger because of the immense pride he has in himself, “Yet the prince of the rings was too proud / to line up with a large army / against the sky plague. He had scant regard / for the dragon as a threat, no dread at all / of its courage or strength” (2345 – 2349). Beowulf has a lot of pride, mainly because of his past achievements in battle. This pride has led Beowulf to the point where he doesn’t want to fight with an army because he truly thinks he is stronger and better than anyone who fights him. Well, pride definitely got the best of Beowulf, because his decision to fight by himself because of his deluded pride, got him killed by the dragon. His death was not an accident, it was because he was too satisfied with himself, which makes his death pathetic, sad and tragic. Beowulf doesn’t acknowledge what can possibly harm him, “Pride prevents us from acknowledging our human vulnerabilities” (Amodeo 3). Beowulf is so blinded by his own pride, that he is unable to see how vulnerable he is in a situation where he has to fight a dangerous beast. Pride gives Beowulf the false notion that he can surpass the

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