The Hero With A Thousand Faces

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Analysis of Beowulf

In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, first published in 1949, esteemed American mythologist Joseph Campbell outlines the fundamental structure every archetypal hero follows during his or her journey in the "world of mythologies." Campbell coined the term “monomyth" to describe the stories that follow this structure. The monomythic cycle, commonly referred to as "The Hero 's Journey," is divided into three primary sections known as the Departure, Fulfillment, and Return. These sections posses a total of twelve elements that the hero will encounter through his story arc. This basic structure is common amongst many mythologies, but has particular pertinence when discussing the story arc of the Medieval novel
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By the time Beowulf 's character is introduced, the audience is already aware that the story is set in Medieval Europe with the primary setting being Denmark. Beowulf

The second element present in the departure is the "Call to Adventure." Here, the hero receives a message from an "external event or messenger" that beckons them to embark upon a journey or mission. In his far-off home Beowulf, Higlac 's follower and the strongest of the Geats- greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in this world- heard how Grendel filled nights with horror and quickly commanded a boat fitted out, proclaiming that he 'd go to that famous king, would go across the sea to Hrothgar, now when help was needed.

The third element present in the departure is the "Refusal of the Call" In traditional form, the hero will experience a moment of reluctance and attempt to "refuse" or avoid the force calling him away from his homeland onto the course of adventure. However, despite what the name suggests, the hero does not have to deny the call but can instead choose to immediately accept the call and begin his quest. What is important is that the hero has the opportunity to refuse should that be his choice.

The fifth element present in the departure is termed "Crossing the Threshold." During this part
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