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BeowulfAnnie Rizvi, Bilal Khan, and Jabran Khan

What is the heros journey?

The heros journey is a narrative pattern identified by American mythologist Joseph Campbell


The heros journey appears in DramaStorytellingMythReligious ritualPsychological development

The heros journey describes the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero

The Hero goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe or civilizationCall to Adventure

Call to AdventureWhen he heard about Grendel, Hygelacs thane / was on home ground, over in Geatland. / There was no one else like him alive. / In this day, he was the mightiest on earth, / high-born and powerful.

In other words: Only Beowulf is powerful enough to defeat Grendel!(Lines 194 - 198)Source:'s_journey.htm

Crossing the Threshold At the end of Act One, the hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. Source:'s_journey.htm

Crossing the Threshold (beginning of transformation)Men climbed eagerly up the gangplank, / sand churned in surf, warriors loaded / a cargo of weapons, shining war-gear / in the vessels hold, then heaved out, / away with a will in their wood-wreathed ship.

In other words: To the ship!(212 - 216)

Supernatural Aid

Heroes are almost always started on their journey by a character who has mastered the laws of the outside world and come back to bestow this wisdom upon them. This supernatural character often gives them the means to complete the quest. Some of the time the gift is simply wisdom. Source:

Supernatural AidWhen it comes to fighting, I count myself / as dangerous any day as Grendel. / So it wont be a cutting edge Ill wield / to mow him down, easily as I might

My supernatural strength will be on par with the monster(677 - 680)

Threshold GuardianThe Threshold Guardian's job is to ensure the protagonist is worthy of passing the threshold, and thus they act as part of the tests the protagonist must face in the journey. A hero who depends on his strength might attempt to overcome Threshold Guardians, while a hero who depends on his wits might evade, bribe, learn from and even convert the Guardians to his cause. Needless to say, running away from a Threshold Guardian is not a successful way of dealing with one. . As with Mentors, the Guardian can also be an inanimate object, animal or force of nature.Source:

Threshold GuardianIn off the moors, down through the mist bands / God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping. / The bane of the race of men roamed forth, / hunting for a prey in the high hall. / Under the cloud-murk he moved towards it / until it shone above him, a sheer keep / of fortified gold. (710 - 716)

AHHHHHH!!! Its the terrible monster, Grendel!

Revelation (Abyss) Often the greatest challenge of the journey, where the hero must face death and overcome her/his greatest fears.Source:

Revelation (Abyss)The monsters whole / body was in pain, a tremendous wound / appeared on his shoulder. Sinews split / and the bone-lapping burst. Beowulf was granted / the glory of winning; Grendel was driven/ under the fen-banks, fatally hurt, / to his desolate lair (814- 820)

In other words: The Beast is slain! He has retreated to his death. Horrah!!!!

AtonementThe hero becomes "at one" with her/his new self. She/he has absorbed the changes caused by the Journey and is fully "reborn."


AtonementBut I couldnt stop him from slipping from my hold. / The Lord allowed it, my lock on him / wasnt strong enough, he struggled fiercely / and broke and ran. / Like a man outlawed / for wickedness, he must await / the mighty judgement of God in majesty.

In other words: I thank God for giving me the strength to defeat the evil that is Grendel(966 - 978)