Pride Before the Fall
As far back as the Ancient Roman Empire, dominant civilizations have often grown comfortable as they accumulated wide spread power and control, which would eventually lead to their own demise. It is a frequent theme found in biblical stories as well. For example, the most beautiful angel, Lucifer, was thrown out of heaven when his pride led him to grasp at more power than he had. Even in modern tales such as the Tortoise and the Hare, the hare decided to rest because of his overconfidence. Through that arrogance, his overconfidence loses him the competition and he is ultimately stripped of his pride. It is a lesson restated frequently through history and literature and a lesson that the Anglo-Saxons werenâ€™t shy to as well. In the epic Beowulf, the society is dealing with increasingly difficult challenges, leading to them beginning to ...view middle of the document...
His vision blurred by pride, he underestimates Beowulfâ€™s strength and abilities and finds that his own strength and abilities failed him when he thought that he couldnâ€™t be beaten. His foolish pride does not allow him to remain a physically superior being compared to Beowulf because in all of Grendelâ€™s battles none had been able to accomplish what Beowulf had. Stripped of his pride, he hopelessly flees only to die in his lair.
The same destructive evil that consumed Grendel curses his mother when she learns of his death. She decides out of sudden anger and rage to avenge her son and attack those she blames for her loss, without stopping to think about the price of her failure. Her pride compels her to start a journey bent solely on revenge. She will not let those who caused her sonâ€™s death go unpunished. She is driven to avenge her sonâ€™s death in order to preserve her own pride. Her haste is eventually her failure when she attacks Heorot and kidnaps Aeschere, a close friend of the king. Beowulf pursues her to her death but both of them lost friends all because of her impulsive and prideful choices. Despite the role that pride played in the defeat of Beowulfâ€™s previous enemies, he ends up falling victim to the same fault of character.
Even though it is repeated often in history and literature such as this, the human race has yet to fully learn and understand the dangers of pride. Too much pride in a person or nation causes the loss of common sense. Becoming blind through their pride, neither Grendel nor his mother seem to comprehend the strength of their enemies compared to their own personal weaknesses just as the hero Beowulf too fails to see the problems he creates for himself and his people. Stories such as those of the Ancient Roman Empire, Lucifer, and the Tortoise and the Hare illustrate this human failing and societyâ€™s failure to understand its penalties. As long as human societies continue to overestimate their own worth and power, they will face hardships of one kind or another.