Jarrod Cook

Mrs. Hoffman

Adv. English 12

25 September 2004

Beowulf Essay #2

The Three Battles of Beowulf

            Beowulf, the great warrior in the epic poem Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxon period, defeats not just one but three monsters.  Beowulf is an epic hero who devotes his life to gaining fame and glory.  Unfortunately, the monsters all have their own motivation too and even have superior weaponry.  Grendel, descendant of Cain, is the first monster to fight with Beowulf.  He visited his diner, the mead hall of Herot, on a nightly basis eating the god loving humans he despised so much.  Twelve year after Grendel began terrorizing the city Beowulf arrived to end his evil reign.  Against the massive claws and magic hide of Grendel, Beowulf vowed:  “my hands alone shall fight for me” (line 173-4 page 25).  Beowulf was motivated by fame and had the gods and fate on his side.  Using these weapons he destroyed the evil Grendel once and for all.  Unfortunately, Grendel’s mother remained alive and the want for revenge motivated her to attack Herot.  This time Beowulf would have to tend with a dagger and piercing teeth, so he took with him armor and a sword.  The weapons of Grendel’s mother outweigh those of Beowulf and he may have been defeated if fate was not on his side.  Down in the den of Grendel’s mother was “…a heavy sword, hammered by the giants…the best of all weapons…” (line 634-5 page 41), which Beowulf used to pierce her thick hide and remove the head from her shoulders.  Beowulf’s motivation was not only fame this time but also the treasure that would be given to him by Hrothgar.  Herot lives in peace for many years until the fire dragon attacks in retaliation to having a cup stolen from his cave.  This time is different for Beowulf though; he is no longer fighting for himself but for the first time is fighting for treasure.  Beowulf takes all available weapons with him into battle and for the first time fate is against him.  He must tend with the venomous tusks, fiery breath “too hot for anyone to stand” (line 697 page 42), and monstrous tail of the fire dragon.  Beowulf would have lost this battle if not for the help of his cousin Wiglaf who has the same motivation Beowulf once had.  Together they slay the dragon but Beowulf is killed and the life of an epic hero ends, as it should, in glory.