As one nears the end of Beowulf, it becomes clear that Beowulf's real enemy is not some monster lurking in the murky waters of the sea, nor a vengeful mother wanting to defend her murderous son's death, and especially not some fire breathing dragon waiting in the dark shadows of a cave. Many persons or things seem to be causes of Beowulf's death. However, if we were to closely examine the entirety of the legend, Beowulf's descent into death begins shortly after his defeat of Grendel. Beowulf's real enemy seems to exist within himself as two obsessions: to be the best man of his time and to be absolutely loyal to his lord and his people. Beowulf's only vice, was his greatest virtue, the virtue of loyalty.
There is a web drawn around Beowulf, a web that connects his greatest virtues and personality traits to his being: loyalty, charisma, strength, and ambition.
All great characteristics of Beowulf, but the one trait that is most evident is Beowulf's striving to be the best. Beowulf often boasts about his great accomplishments before going into war, or a duel, reminding everyone of all that he had done, so to put their fears of failure at rest. Now all that remains of those duels is the memory of his arms raised high in the air: all his followers chanting his name. Beowulf enters many battles and wars on the negative side, and always are the battles exited victorious.
In the last battle that the mighty Beowulf enters, we see his enemy for all he is. "The lord of Geats/ unburdened his breast and broke out/ in a storm of anger" (Lines 2550-2552). In this section, we see Beowulf demonstrating such anger, that the patriarch of...