Beowulf as a character is introduced after the situation at Heorot is explained and described with a gruesome night-time visit from Grendel, where he kills many. Beowulf is therefore introduced after the depth of the problem facing Hrothgar and his people has been expounded, and it is clear from the way in which he is introduced as a character that he is going to be the protagonist who will face Grendel, the antagonist:
A thane of Hygelac, a good man among the Geats, heard in his homeland of Grendel's deeds: of mankind he was the strongest of might in the time of this life, noble and great.
Not only is Beowulf introduced as being the "strongest of might" and "noble and great," but it is clear that he is eager for a chance to prove those qualities through defeating Grendel in combat and becoming Hrothgar's saviour. The reader is also told that the wise men of Beowulf's homeland urged him on in wanting to go on this adventure, even though he was very important to them. Beowulf is therefore shown to be a hero who is willing to court danger and determined to risk his life in order to prove his heroic status, which of course, in Anglo-Saxon times, was the very measure of a hero. Beowulf is thus introduced as the counterbalance to Grendel's evil nature and the narrator places hope in him for the salvation of Hereot, anticipating his epic fight with Grendel.