Essay on Beowulf and the Hero's Journey

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Joseph Campbell’s term monomyth can be described as a hero’s journey. Many heroic characters follow the monomyth, no matter the time period or culture the literature was created in. The poem Beowulf is known to follow the adventure of the hero described in Campbell’s monomyth . The hero’s journey consists of three rites of passages: separation, initiation, and return. Beowulf endures each of these stages throughout the epic poem, so his journey does follow Campbell’s monomyth. The separation is the first stage a hero must go through in his or her journey. This stage consists of “a blunder -apparently the merest chance- reveals an unsuspected world, and the individual is drawn into a relationship with forces that are not rightly …show more content…
One of the dragon’s tusks have been stabbed into his neck, making it impossible to save him. As death surrounded Beowulf, he made Wiglaf the new ruler of the Geats. This was the final stage in the initiation of Beowulf’s journey The final rite of passage is the return. The return is the end of the hero’s adventure. Campells states, “his return is described as coming back out of the yonder zone.” (188) When Beowulf dies, peace is lost in his country. His country ultimately returns to fighting and war. The end is really the beginning for a new ruler, Wiglaf, and a new time period of fighting. The final part of the hero’s journey is the elixir. An elixir is something the hero obtained during his journey that can be shared with society. It often defines the hero’s role in the society. Beowulf’s elixir could be considered his story. Beowulf brought insight to his people and to the Danes that one can defeat demons and receive redemption. He showed them this when he defeated both Grendel and his mother and battled the dragon. Additionally, Beowulf’s blessing of peace could be considered the elixir. While he was in rule, his land was safe. He kept peace for his people. Beowulf acquired this peace by defeating Grendel and proving that he was strong. The final rite of passage in the hero’s journey is basically just returning back to the beginning, or where the hero was at before