Several scholars in the last century have created versions of the "heroic cycle." Joseph Campbell's version in 1949 included 17 stages, while David Adams Leeming and Phil Cousineau (in 1981 and 1990, respectively) created different versions that have only 8 stages each. In 2007, Christopher Vogler wrote a 12-step adaptation of the cycle. Each of these, though they differ in the names and numbers of their components, has three main parts: the departure, the initiation, and the return.
Beowulf's departure, or "Call to Adventure," occurred when he heard the news of Grendel murdering the king's soldiers.
His "initiation" occurs as a series of trials. Beowulf is shown to be heroic, strong, intelligent, and innovative over the course of multiple battles with monsters. Some representations of the heroic cycle include "supernatural aid," which Beowulf receives in the form of a magic sword that he uses to defeat Grendel's mother.
Beowulf first "returns" after he has defeated both Grendel and the Grendel's mother. He returns home and rules over the Geats. Unfortunately, he is sought out to defeat yet another monster, and dies a tragic hero in his battle with a dragon. He then becomes "master of two worlds," according to some versions of the heroic journey, because he is made immortal through his stories, making him a hero both in life and in death.