Beowulf is a centuries old epic poem
written in the 11th century. However, the first battle describes
what type of hero Beowulf is. As the poem gains momentum, the second battle can
be described as the fight between good and evil. Wiglaf is showing his courageousness
during the last battle, so we understand what it’s like to be a hero. Each
battle is very different from the last. In his quest for glory, the protagonist
fights three important battles – two monsters and one dragon. These battles
have similarities and differences; however, each contest further matures
The first battle is a milestone for
Beowulf, as he exhibits to the world his mighty warrior skills. The Geats
(Beowulf’s tribe) travel to Hrothgar’s kingdom, they are halted by watchmen and
ordered the warriors to state their business. After talking with the king,
Beowulf and his crew set off to kill Grendel, a ferocious monster who has
plagued the land for over a decade, “that monsters score of men is so great
that he needs no weapons and fears none”(L262-263). Grendel, the spawn of Cain,
is purely wretched by nature. His entire being is devoid of joy and empathy.
Some think that when he hears the jubilant parties that take place at Herot he
is filled with intense resentment because he has never experienced anything joyous.
As Beowulf is in position to kill, Grendel arrives at the mead hall. While
trying to fight back against Beowulf, Grendel losses his arm and suffers from severe
blood loss. As the beast scurries away to die we see how Beowulf reacts to his
victory. He becomes presumptuous as he shows his warriors the severed limb.
This reaction and boastfulness shows how developed Beowulf is.
The news of Grendel’s death travels
fast throughout the kingdom. However, when Grendel’s mother hears of this, she begins
her monstrous rampage. The second battle is between Beowulf and Grendel’s
mother. She has a very masculine figure with an unsightly face, “she welcomed
him with her claws”(L475). She attacked the men in the mead hall, she showed no
sign of logic but intended aggressiveness like a warrior. Grendel’s
mother attacked the mead hall to take a revenge for the death of her son,
before returning to her lair. In order to go fight with the child-bearer,
Beowulf ventured into her lake based home. He becomes more defensive while
fighting the massive beast. Beowulf represents his adult stage in the battle
with Grendel’s mother, not as fierce but still very tenacious. It also makes
him a more valued hero when he ventures into the lake to reach to the Grendel’s
mother. In this battle, we see that in a
short time, he became a more mature warrior and humble for his victories.
The third battle is more than 50
years later, and Beowulf is now a king. Beowulf has reached the exceptional age
of 80. Beowulf the now king decides to take on the dragon. As the King and his
11 men approach the beast all but one runs away in fear. The encounter with the
dragon symbolically opposes what it means to be a good king. Being a good king means, one is willing to
give up his life to protect the livelihood of his kingdom. In this quote it
shows how he will fight to the death for his people, “Then Beowulf rose, still
brave, still strong.”(L650). Also, this confrontation represents greed and destruction,
because the dragon could breathe fire and melt swords, and keep the invaluable
goods. As Beowulf and Wiglaf fight the fire breathing beast, Beowulf loses his
life in the process. Beowulf showed true courage even when there was only one
person to back him up. Beowulf died for being a brave and prudent king.
The difference between the battles
is Beowulf. Every battle has its foe, but they have a different hero each time.
As Beowulf becomes a seasoned warrior, he understands when to be boastful and
when to be humble. Beowulf developed as the poem progressed. Throughout the
poem, you can see the similarities and differences of each battle, but the one
thing that is not held constant is Beowulf’s domineer