The theme is universal, one human's battle against a hostile environment. The theme, the overall war of good verses evil, in which the good always prevails, is illustrated through the main character, Beowulf. Beowulf is an example of the good that prevails. The story of Beowulf takes place around Scyld's descendent Hrothgar's ancient mead hall. It was known as Heorot, meaning Hart's Hall, and was located in Seeland, Denmark. A beast was terrorizing the hall by killing warriors for twelve years, this until Beowulf hears of the trouble by the word of a scop, an ancient verbal storyteller. Beowulf, who was a true champion of his time, faces cruel monsters and unbeatable odds, yet somehow he overcomes the monsters with his wit and strength. He believes he can fight the evil monster and restore peace to the hall. His undying struggle for justice against the oppressors of free will and life make him one of the greatest epic heroes of all time. Mainly, though Beowulf is an epic hero because of his ability to overcome the great obstacles that faced him, he is blessed with courage and superhuman strength, and he receives compensation for the deeds that he carries out.
An epic hero often is found carrying out tasks and overcoming obstacles that a normal human being would not be able to do. Beowulf is faced with a beast that is terrorizing the warriors of Heorot. This beast is known as Grendel, he was the purest form of evil. The story explains, "Now Grendel came, from his crags of mist/Across the moor; he was the curst of God" (Beowulf 16). This proves the evil that Beowulf faces by depicting how bad Grendel actually was. Being accurse of God is the complete opposite of good, showing the evil Beowulf faces inside of Grendel. Other than Grendel, Beowulf faces Grendel's mother. He faces her after she seeks her wergild on Hrothgar, by killing Esher. Wergild is the standard way of compensation for a crime committed against one's self.