During the Anglo-Saxon period from the fifth to eleventh century, there was no definite style of writing therefore stories, legends and myths were told by the word of mouth since few people were able to read. Anglo-Saxon poetry was written in poetry of deaths of loved ones and the past such as the legend of Beowulf written by Burton Raffel. Beowulf is a legendary tale, told in 500 AD and written in 1000 AD, about a noble warrior who fought for the good of others. He then slowly becomes egotistical as the townspeople keep persuading him to continue his journey to keep protecting the town from monsters. Throughout the prose Beowulf displays his motives transforming from pureness to corruption as he goes faces the battles with Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon.
The pureness of the legendary warrior portrays his true potential as he goes into battle with the monstrous Grendel. Beowulf’s motive going into the battle with Grendel was to help “when help was needed” (29/201). The fierce warrior is exemplifying that he’s selfless and willing to help others when the town is struggling. Beowulf is portraying pureness and his motive isn’t being affected by his desire to kill Grendel. His strategy of fighting Grendel: “I drove five great giants into chains, chased all of that race from the earth” (36/420-421). Beowulf is displaying credibility through his past accomplishments throughout his lifetime therefore makes him suitable for the position. He is showing what he can do and what he has to offer the town from saving them from the demonic monster. As he kills Grendel, “screams of the almighty’s enemy sang in the darkness, the horrible shrieks of pain and defeat, the tears torn out of Grendel’s throat” (47/785-787). The victory of Grendel has yet again won him credibility to be in power and feels courageous. Beowulf’s ego grows which therefore leads to his corruption. As the first battle has been accomplished, Beowulf thrives for more fame and fortune.
Little did he know, his mother would come to avenge the death of her son. Grendel’s mother came along, “and now there’s another one, a second hungry fiend, determined to avenge the first” (65/1338-1339). The fire inside Beowulf is burning and ignited again to be motivated to go in for another victory. Beowulf’s motive is starting to lose its meaning as he knows there’s another monster coming. Hrothgar tries to convince Beowulf: “save us, once more, and again twisted gold, heaped-up ancient treasure, will reward you for the battle you win” (66/1379-1382). The persuasion from Hrothgar helps the corruption to Beowulf’s motive to change from being for honor to monetary rewards. By saying this, Hrothgar is offering endless power to Beowulf which sparks the motive to change. Beowulf’s motive going into the battle with Grendel’s mother: “So fame comes to the men who mean to win it and care about nothing else!” (71/1534-1536). Beowulf therefore states his motive is for fame and glory instead of the normal motive for acceptance. With Beowulf’s motive changing, his pureness slowly evolves to corruption for his desire for fame and fortune. The defeat of Grendel’s mother has honored him the righteous spot in being the king for the next fifty years until he comes into contact with another disastrous monster.
After fifty years has passed since he has been in power and has fought any sort of monster, has still determined to be the