Beowulf is an epic poem that is believed to have been written in the 7th or 8th century as the first piece of English literature. The story is one of a great hero who has many encounters with inhumanly monsters on his quest for glory. The hero of the poem, Beowulf, demonstrates all of the characteristics of an archetypical hero. From having superior strength to incredible courage to performing brave deeds Beowulf showed it all. He truly was the perfect role-model for the Anglo-Saxon culture.
Beowulf’s first battle is with the evil monster, Grendel. Grendel terrorizes the people of Denmark at night and when Denmark’s King, Hrothgar, hears of this he seeks out Beowulf’s help. Beowulf gladly excepts for he is on a quest for glory. Beowulf comes to Denmark, and during the battle with Grendel he showed his superior strength when Grendel’s arm “snapped, muscle and bone split and broke.” (Beowulf, 375-377) Grendel yelled in pain as he was finally defeated and then bled to his death. This was also showing that he risks death for glory and for the good of society.
The second battle Beowulf had was with Grendel’s mother after she wanted to avenge her son’s death. Grendel’s Mother goes to Herot Hall, kills Hrothgar’s closest friend and retrieves her son’s arm. When Beowulf hears of this he immediately goes after her. It took an immense amount of courage to go down to the bottom a serpent infested lake to fight her. The demon is unharmed when Beowulf swings at her with his sword because she has also cursed all man-made weapons. It wasn’t until he saw “hanging on the wall, a heavy sword hammered by giants…” (Beowulf 485-486) that he was able to kill her with one swift slice at the neck. When Beowulf immerged he held with him two trophies. One was Grendel’s head and the other the hilt of the sword used to kill Grendel’s Mother. This made his reputation even greater than it already was.
Beowulf’s last and greatest battle was against a ferocious dragon. After “fifty winters a king” (Beowulf 589-590) a dragon begins to destroy the kingdom of Geatland because a slave, seeking freedom, stole his treasured cup. Beowulf shows leadership by deciding to put an end to this monster since he was the most capable man in all of the land for the job. The king and his men go to the home of the fire breathing fiend, but all of Beowulf’s men flee…