Nicole Higgins Beowulf / Hero with a Thousand Faces Essay In the stories Beowulf and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, its visible and has been concluded that the hero, Beowulf and his journey fulfill all 12 of the characteristics of a mythical hero. First, the hero is introduced in his ordinary world. Beowulf is the son of Ecgtheow and nephew of the king in his land Geatland, which is not far from Denmark. When he receives his call to adventure, Beowulf travels to the Danes. There is a monster named Grendel and one night, he slaughtered thirty men.
Since then, he has continuously caused problems for twelve years. People have tried to fight him and stop the evil creature from killing or causing more destruction but many have died trying. This made him more reluctant to go fight him. He knew there could be consequences or he could end up getting hurt. He doesn’t know much about the creature or how he will fight back so it makes everything more scary and difficult for Beowulf. When he starts to get anxious and afraid to go to the Danes and battle, people start to encourage him.
The king of the Geats, Hrothgar, started to persuade Beowulf to go help the Danes because they were in great danger. With that, Beowulf travels to the unknown land, the Danes. This is when he passes the first threshold. When Beowulf arrives from sea with fourteen of the bravest warriors, they are covered in armor and carrying weapons. The Danish guards on the coast stop Beowulf and his crew in curiosity. They are not used to people coming ashore especially not such brave men ready to fight. After explaining himself, the group of men is allowed into the land to start their journey and fight off Grendel.
While in the Danes, he encounters tests and helpers. He has to make allies and enemies. Of course his enemy would be the monsters, Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and the dragon. He has warriors that try to help him while battling the monsters. Unferth, someone from the Danes, gets very jealous of his kinsmen’s admiration for Beowulf and starts to tell a false story of Beowulf. At first they weren’t on good terms but they become friends later on in the story. Comitatus, who is a group of warriors or nobles that stay by their king or leader at all times, is shown many times in the story.
When Beowulf fights Grendel’s mother in the lake, everyone leaves after Beowulf does not return to the surface after a while. His men stayed behind and waited just like true warriors should. Also, Wiglaf came to the rescue for Beowulf. He came and helped him defeat the dragon when Beowulf was left alone to defend himself and could have possibly died. Next, according to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the hero reaches the innermost cave. For Beowulf, there was one place that the object of his quest takes place.
The lake, which is an eerie, mysterious home to Grendel and his mother, is where he battles and defeats them. Then the hero must endure the supreme ordeal. In Beowulf, this is when he is about to fight the dragon. He finally realizes that this may be it; he may die. Beowulf’s men wait outside the barrow while he goes in to fight and everyone waits anxiously. After defeating the dragon with the help of Wiglaf, he seizes the sword. Technically it was Wiglaf that got the treasure though because Beowulf was bitten by the dragon and it was poisonous.
Wiglaf brings him a portion of the treasure to see what he has won before Beowulf dies. The battle against the dragon was after Beowulf had taken the road back. He had received many treasures and rewards from Hrothgar and shares them with him. He gives him suits of armor and four of the great horses and even gives Hyglad a necklace given to him by Wealhtheow and and three horses. When he arrives back at Geatland, he is highly praised by everyone there. He even receives some land and treasure for himself. Resurrection is a big part of stories from a long time ago.
When Beowulf comes back from the Danes, he learned a lesson. He knows that’s he a strong, brave, king. He knows that he could have died many times and has made it through the challenges to do what he needed to do. When Beowulf returned, he came back with the elixir. He brought back much treasure like mentioned before and he gained a lot of experience from this whole ordeal. The whole story of Beowulf shows the 12 step outline of a Hero’s Journey. Beowulf portrays every characteristic and experiences everything that Joseph Campbell mentioned in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.