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The conflict between Beowulf and the monsters is really a battle of good vs. evil. Beowulf, as the superhero, rises above fighting temporal human foes to do cosmic battle with the representatives of evil.
The protagonist is Beowulf, a symbol of goodness. He is a superhero with a strong body, intelligent mind, and extraordinary skills. He is a champion for everything that is right. During the poem, he slays monsters and dragons that stand for evil and ugliness.
Beowulf's antagonist is the series of monsters that he must fight and overcome, such as Grendel and the Dragon. Together these monsters represent evil and ugliness.
The plot really unfolds in a series of three climaxes. The first occurs when the brave Beowulf goes to the land of the Danes, where he fights Grendel and pulls his arm from his socket in a fierce, bloody battle; Grendel flees from Heorot Hall and soon dies. Beowulf must then fight Grendel's mother, who seeks revenge for her son's death. In another bloody battle, Beowulf cuts off her head.
The third climatic moment occurs in Beowulf's battle with a fiery dragon. As the dragon attacks Wiglaf, the only one in Beowulf's retinue that does not run away, Beowulf strikes the dragon and eventually kills it; but during the fight, the monster succeeds in sinking his fangs into Beowulf's neck, delivering a fatal wound to the protagonist of the poem.
The poem ends as a comedy. Even though Beowulf is killed by the dragon at the end of the poem, he has succeeded in overcoming the forces of evil and ugliness.