From Boyhood to Manhood
As Beowulf progresses in the book, he develops into a more mature person. Initially Beowulf chooses to fight battles which don't directly benefit himself or his people. He is arrogant and foolhardy by fighting Grendel with no weapons or armor. He tells his men of his decision on lines 436-441, "I hereby renounce sword and the shelter of the broad shield, the heavy war-board: hand to hand-to-hand is how it will be, a life-and-death fight with the fiend. Whichever one death fells must deem it a just judgment of God." This passage shows how foolish Beowulf is, because he's willing to risk his life for a minor cause that doesn't affect his kingdom or his personal health. Aware of the consequences if he loses to Grendel, he still refuses to change his mind and fight with armor or weapons. Beowulf nervously knows what will happen if his foolishness causes him to lose, "If Grendel wins, it will be a gruesome day; he will glut himself on the Geats in the war-hall, swoop without fear on that flower of manhood as on others before No need then to lament for long or lay out my body: if the battle takes me Fate goes ever as fate must."(Lines 442-445,450-451,455) This passage shows how arrogant Beowulf is, knowing that he's up against a demon who's been wrecking havoc on the Geats for twelve years without anybody being able to stop him. Beowulf does not take into consideration what will happen to his kingdom if he dies, he only lives for the excitement and the challenge of the battle.
When Beowulf prepares to fight Grendel's mother, a demon just as horrible as Grendel, he appears more mature. Unlike his first battle with Grendel where Beowulf traveled to volunteer his services to King Hrothgar to kill a monster only for the glory and joy of it, he is now enticed into battle by a desperate king in exchange for gold and other riches. King Hrothgar makes his plea on lines 1378-1382, "The gap of...