In this story of Beowulf the main character Beowulf is an "ideal" Anglo-Saxon hero. Beowulf comes from the Kingdom of Hygelac which is across the ocean from Hrothgar. Beowulf fights three different monstrous creatures. The first of which the evil Grendel. Grendel is a large, powerful, and cowardly creature that attacks the Mead Hall at night. When Hrothgar asks Beowulf to "solve" the Grendel problem. The next creature that Hrothgar ask Beowulf to kill is Grendel's mother, The Troll-Wife. Beowulf had to swim underwater for three days and then he fought The Troll-Wife. After he defeated the troll wife he then proceeded to get back to the king to get his reward. After they got back to his kingdom after collecting the reward, Beowulf becomes king and everything is going well, until one day a man happens upon the dragon's lair. The man sees the vast amount of gold and takes a goblet.
Beowulf is described as a heroic, righteous, and strong person. He is apparently able to fight large creatures with his bare hands, swim underwater for long lengths of time, and fight valiantly against any foe. Beowulf is described as the "ideal" Anglo-Saxon hero: strong, persistent, and honest. He is this way because the original "authors" of this epic poem, wanted to portray their customs to the younger crowd when this poem was performed. Beowulf can conquer anything, and overcome any obstacle because he is the embodiment of good.
Grendel is the first foe that Beowulf is called to defeat. Grendel, who is called "the seed of Cain," is not described exactly well in the book. However, he is described as a large figure with the strength to pick up a grown man and swallow him whole. Grendel is shown as somewhat of a coward because he only attacks at night when the guards are asleep. This is to avoid any type of actual fighting that would probably ensue during the day time.
The Troll-Wife, also known as Grendel's Mother, is furious that Beowulf killed her son. In retaliation, Grendel's Mother attacks the hall killing Eschere, a comrade of Beowulf. Beowulf and an army of men travel to Grendel's Mother's dwelling, to slay the Troll-Wife. The Troll-Wife slayed one person, because Grendel was one mere person, but Beowulf took it upon himself to claim that one more death of Hrothgar's men was one more death too many. This dwelling is underneath a lake, which also contains the remains of Grendel himself. Beowulf is given a sword in which to battle Grendel's Mother with. He dives into the lake and is immediately confronted by the beastly creature. She drags Beowulf deeper into the lake into her lair. For the majority of the fight it seems that Beowulf is losing the fight. Beowulf loses his sword, and is protected only by his armor. However, Beowulf finds the a sword that belongs to the Troll-Wife. This sword was so massive that it could only be wielded by Beowulf himself. He proceeds to use this sword to kill this beast.
Although he claims differently, Beowulf didn't fight the Troll-Wife to beat the Troll-Wife, he fought the battle to prove to everyone that he could, that he could win. As he is fighting, everyone loses faith in him, they all believe him to be dead and leave, so when Beowulf comes back alive, it is as if he has done the impossible, making it so none of Hrothgar's men will ever forget him, and insuring his own figurative immortality.
The dragon is the final foe that Beowulf has to fight. The dragon was in a deep slumber until the thief woke the dragon up by stealing the goblet. Once the dragon woke up and realized that one of his small items from the horde of items he has was stolen, he became enraged and started burning buildings and people around his lair. Beowulf was then summoned to go and slay the dragon. Beowulf decided to get a couple of soldiers to go with him to fight the dragon but when they arrived at the location of the dragon, the soldiers got scared and decided not to go help Beowulf. In the fight against the dragon Beowulf killed the dragon but at the same time the dragon managed to hurt Beowulf so much that Beowulf knew he was going to die. Beowulf then tells the soldiers that his last wish is to see some of the loot that the dragon was guarding.
Battle Characteristics edit
These battles show Beowulf's willing to give his own life to defeat these monstrous creatures for the good of his people. His lacks the need to worry about his own well being, only strengthening his will in battle. The thought of fighting with weapons makes him feel that he is being cowardly if his opponent does not also have a weapon. "To bear my sword, or sheltering shield, Or yellow buckler, to battle the fiend. With hand-grip only I'll grapple with Grendel" (Kennedy 340-342) The only times that Beowulf actually uses a weapon for the entire tale is when he fights Grendle's mother and when he fights the Dragon. Beowulf shows complete disregard for his personal well being in order to defend his freinds.
Creature Characteristics edit
The three creatures that are introduced in the epic poem of "Beowulf" show some very different characteristics. Grendel is a large monster, capable of swallowing grown men whole, and striking fear into many of these people. However, Grendel is a coward. No matter how strong he is, he is afraid to fight. He attacks at night in order to keep from entering a conflict. Grendel's Mother on the other hand, is a very strong "lady". She is not afraid to fight someone head on, as she does with Beowulf. She is actually a very good combatant. The final creature that Beowulf fights is a venomous, fire-breathing dragon. This monster is a little different. He/she is so aware of his/her surroundings, that he/she can pick out if one of his/her items are missing. "There a thief broke in on the heathen treasure, Laid hand on a flagon all fretted with gold, As the dragon discovered, though cozened in sleep By the pilferer's cunning. The people soon found That the mood of the dragon was roused to wrath!..." (Kennedy 1379-1383) This greed is the source of the dragons venomous nature during battle.