The topic of my essay will explain how Beowulf becomes both a tragic hero and a proud fool. Beowulf becomes a world-renowned hero, but like many, his self-pride leads him to a horrible downfall, ultimately ending his life in tragedy. In the same way he becomes a proud fool by letting his ego overpower his rationale and as a result he makes a foolish decision that abandons the Geats forever.
One instance that shows us he is a proud fool is when he first comes to visit Hrothgar. Beowulf comes before Hrothgar and asks for permission to rid Hrothgar s people of Grendel. When Hrothgar grants him his wish, Beowulf only wants he and his warriors, not Hrothgar s warriors, to aid him in the fight against Grendel. In a similar episode Beowulf decides that he will go alone to fight Grendel s mother. These two examples show that Beowulf has already placed himself to high.
In another instance Beowulf is even warned of his foolish ways. After the battle between himself and Grendel s mother, Beowulf of course comes back to Heorot with his head held high. Hrothgar sees this and warns him by saying, Be warned, Beowulf,/ learn the nature of nobility. (Line 1383-1384) What does he mean by this? Hrothgar is telling Beowulf not to let his successes and fame go to his head, but use them to his advantage instead.
In Beowulf s final conflict, his ego finally gets the better of him. When he hears that a dragon is occupying his land he decides to take matters into his own hands. Only this time his strength and quick wits have become a little slower. He dismisses this and presses on into the dragons dwelling, alone. His battle doesn t go as planned and he is mortally wounded by the dragon.
Beowulf s self pride leads to his own death. Near the end of the poem we learn of the tragic fate of the Geats: Thus the brave messenger told of and foretold/ harrowing times; and he was not far wrong./ Those events were fated. (Line 1990-1992) Beowulf, who saves all of Hrothgar s people by defeating Grendel and Grendel s mother, in a way, abandon s his own people by trying to defeat the dragon. His death marks the fall of the Geats.