What Is Beowulf's Failure As A King

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Beowulf’s Failure as a King Beowulf is a legendary hero. He is often portrayed as a symbol of strength, courage, and honor in the epic poem named after him. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Beowulf is a failure as a king, unable to properly rule his kingdom , and in the end dies in a hopeless battle against the dragon. This essay will explore the many reasons why Beowulf has failed as a king, using quotes from the story of Beowulf written by Seamus Heaney. To begin, one of the most significant reasons for Beowulf's failure as a king is because he was unable to establish a proper succession plan. As he nears the end of his life, Beowulf has no clear successor in mind to take over the throne. Although Beowulf states that he …show more content…

He sees himself as invincible, capable of achieving anything he desires through his own strength and courage. This mindset is particularly evident in his decision to fight the dragon, despite being warned of the danger by his advisors. In the section titled Beowulf’s last boast, Beowulf states “...I shall pursue this fight for the glory of winning, if the evil one will only abandon his earth-fort and face me in the open”(Heaney,112). This quote perfectly demonstrates Beowulf’s blatant arrogance. He is not fighting for the safety of his people, he is fighting for glory and to boost his ego. Another prime example of Beowulf’s tendency towards arrogance and pride is seen when Wiglaf goes to Beowulf’s aid. Wiglaf reminds Beowulf that “... do everything you said you would do when you were young and vowed you would never let your name and fame be dimmed..”(Heaney,119). This greatly demonstrates how Beowulf makes decisions that will boost his fame and he is motivated to keep fighting to preserve the legend around his name. This overconfidence and obsessions with his ego is what ultimately led to Beowulf's death and upset the stability of his …show more content…

As the poem progresses, the world around him is changing, and new threats emerge that he is ill-equipped to handle. The dragon, for example, is a creature unlike any of the others that Beowulf has encountered before, and he is not prepared to deal with its fire-breathing and incredible strength. Not only is Beowulf ill prepared for the dragon mentally, but his weapon is not prepared for the battle either. Heaney states “The glittering sword infallible before that day, failed when he unsheathed it, as it never should have” (Heanely, 114). This previous quote beautifully describes Beowulf’s mighty sword, horribly failing him when he needed it most. Personally, this was my favorite quote within this poem. It seems when the sword melts it represents Beowulf’s ego and fame being reduced to nothing right before his eyes. It is also important to mention that despite the army of men who came to fight with Beowulf, Beowulf seeks to fight the dragon alone. “This fight is not yours, nor is it up to any man except me” (Heavney,113). It shows that Beowulf truly did not have a grasp of the enemy that he was up against. Beowulf's inability to adapt to these new challenges ultimately leads to his loss of the battle and the collapse of his

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