What is the main conflict in the last battle of Beowulf?

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cbots eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most simple answer to this is Beowulf vs. the dragon. But there is more to it than that. It can also be looked at as Beowulf vs. himself; Beowulf feels a responsibility to himself and to his people to defend them against the dragon, but he is much older than he was when he defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother, so he is fighting a losing battle against time and old age. He is also in conflict with his own pride; is reputation has been built on his reputation as a great warrior, and now he still feels that he can do the things he used to do even though he is much older.  His pride will not allow him not to fight the dragon.

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