Beowulf, Joseph Campbell and the Hero Archetype 12th Grade
The foundation text of English literature, titled Beowulf (meaning “man wolf” when translated into the modern language), presents readers with a hero named Beowulf who fights three different battles, each with its own monster. Beowulf’s first battle awaits him when he travels to present day Denmark to save the Danes from a monster named Grendel that has been wreaking havoc on King Hrothgar’s men. Grendel’s defeat leads to Beowulf’s second battle with Grendel’s mother, who avenges the death of her son. Once Beowulf saves the Danes from the monsters they faced, Beowulf returns home to rule his land until he meets his death in a battle with a dragon, signifying the monster that overcame him. Although Beowulf’s success in battle with his literal monsters would name him a hero in almost any circumstance, Beowulf’s life and the situations that led him to battle fall into place with the same ideals that name him a classic hero under Campbell’s hero archetype, where the hero must have a reason for departure, initiation through his defeat of an enemy, and a return from his journey. Beowulf’s journey of life, which was a battle until his death, relates to humans in the sense that although Beowulf’s monsters were real creatures, every...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1320 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9875 literature essays, 2499 sample college application essays, 464 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in