The character of Beowulf is probably the earliest example of what we would consider a hero. There isn't much difference between him and somebody like Captain America. In Beowulf's situation, like in modern hero movies, there is a great evil that exists, and all existing law enforcement is incapable of...
The character of Beowulf is probably the earliest example of what we would consider a hero. There isn't much difference between him and somebody like Captain America. In Beowulf's situation, like in modern hero movies, there is a great evil that exists, and all existing law enforcement is incapable of dealing with the evil. Additionally, diplomacy either has failed or simply won't work at all. Finally, the evil that is present is somehow pure evil and seemingly indestructible. We see that with Grendel in that he murderously rampages through the hall night after night, leaving a bloodbath in his wake. As for his "evilness," he is a descendant of Cain, who killed his brother in the Bible. No existing warriors can handle Grendel, so a special, equally strong and indestructible hero is needed to violently vanquish Grendel and Grendel's mother and wipe them from the face of the planet. We know that Beowulf is quite strong, based on his appearance alone.
Nor have I seen
A mightier man-at-arms on this earth
Than the one standing here: unless I am mistaken,
He is truly noble. This is no mere
Hanger-on in a hero’s armour.
Beowulf fights Grendel and Grendel's mother because he's a strong, brave warrior, and nobody else is able to do it. Fighting evil like Grendel is his duty, just like fighting Thanos is the duty of the Avengers. It's the same setup. Beowulf is expected to do this for the simple reason that he is a hero, and heroes selflessly put themselves on the line for the good of others. Make no mistake—Beowulf is a selfless hero. He is offered the Danish throne and riches beyond his imagination, yet he turns it down. Defeating evil and earning the respect of his fellow men is payment enough. Regarding the question as to whether or not he accomplishes his goal, I believe that the answer has to be "yes, he does." The goal is to eliminate Grendel and Grendel's mother, and that is what Beowulf does.