Beowulf's Heroic Journey

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Joseph Campbell developed an idea called the Heroic Journey or monomyth, which summarizes the plots of many heroic myths. It is a simple formula which every hero must follow in order to be identified as a hero. All of these myths must begin with some miraculous birth, contain a fight, and end with the return home. There are several other steps along the way that identify with the all the heroes, though they may identify differently. Beowulf is one of the most famous monomyths and Campbell’s formula can be seen outlined in the novel. It is not always clear to figure out how the novel portrays every step, so creativity must be applied to make sense of the Heroic Journey of Beowulf. The easiest way to visualize all the steps is to apply it to the three separate battles that Beowulf is called to. Many of the steps of the Heroic Journey are clearly portrayed in Beowulf; however, the birth is a bit unclear. There is no direct passage in the story that describes the birth of our hero Beowulf. It is only known that he is raised and trained by Hrethel, along with his other sons. It can be interpreted that his early drive to become a heroic figure symbolizes a miraculous beginning, instead of a miraculous birth. The mystery of who his father was also adds to the miraculous beginning. He is finally able to make meaningful use of his heroic abilities when he gets the call for adventure. The first call is made evident when Beowulf hears of the troubles in the hall of Heorot in Denmark. An angry beast by the name Grendel has been entering the hall in the middle of the night and taking the lives of many men. The hero’s acceptance to this adventure is purely willingly because Hrothgar, the king of Denmark, once did a favor for Beowulf’s father. The second call for adventure comes from Grendel’s mother who is seeking revenge for the death of her son. The beast also torture the men

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