Beowulf: Brief Flashcard

Beowulf: Brief Flashcard

When was it written?
Between 700 -1000 AD
Who is the author?
unknown
Where does Beowulf take place?
Denmark & Sweden, in Scandinavia
How was the story spread?
Oral tradition
Who actually wrote down the story of Beowulf?
Monks
What language was Beowulf originally composed in?
Old English
Beowulf is an important ancient _______ hero
English
Beowulf is an example of an _____ hero
epic
What is an epic hero?
the central figure in a long narrative that reflects the values and heroic ideals of a particular society
What is a common quality of an epic hero?
hubris
What are two important literary elements in Beowulf?
alliteration and Kennings
Beowulf is an ______ story
Epic
What is an epic?
It is a quest story on a grand scale
What character is the prologue of Beowulf mainly about?
Scyld, the king of the Danes
What two religions can be found in the story of Beowulf?
Paganism and Christianity
Beowulf is from what kingdom?
the Geats
Beowulf is the nephew of what Geat ruler?
Hygelac
Who is Beowulf’s father?
Ecgtheow
Who was the first Danish ruler?
Scyld, grandfather of Healfdene, great grandfather of Hrothgar
Who invites Beowulf to come fight Grendel?
Hrothgar
Who is Hrothgar?
He is the King of the Danes, son of Healfdene and great grandson of Scyld
Why does Hrothgar invite Beowulf to battle Grendel?
To pay back the debt of Beowulf’s father, and to defeat the terrible monster
Even before Beowulf battles Grendel, how does Hrothgar know about Beowulf?
He has heard about him, which means that his fame from battles has probably been sung about
What three things does Beowulf do when he goes to Hrothgar?
1. He identifies himself and his lineage
2. He identifies the problem of the Danes
3. He speaks of his achievements – meaning his past defeats of monsters
Beowulf asks Hrothgar for what for his warriors?
the mead-hall, Herot
Who is the first evil character presented in the story of Beowulf?
Grendel
Who is Grendel?
he is a strong and evil water-monster who lives at the bottom of a haunted pool with his mother
What kind of abilities does Grendel have?
He has sharp claws, he can lift and devour many men, he can hunt at night and lives in the water
What does Grendel and his dwelling represent?
fear of the unknown
Grendel and his mother had a curse put on them which entails that what cannot hurt them?
Man-made weapons
Beowulf decides to fight Grendel with what?
his bare hands
Why are the Danes angry with the warriors and Hrothgar?
Because they want their own warriors to fight Grendel and they feel threatened by the Geats coming in to defeat the monster for them, it makes them feel weak
Who questions Beowulf’s ability in battle?
Unferth
What story does Unferth bring up to embarrass Beowulf?
the swim race
Who did Beowulf race in a swimming competition when he was younger?
Brecca
What happened in the swimming race?
Beowulf and Brecca made a bet to see who could swim faster, Beowulf lost because he was attacked by sea monsters after a storm and had to defeat them, Brecca was pushed ahead by the storm and won
What did Brecca and Beowulf swim with?
Full armor and swords
How long did Brecca and Beowulf race?
7 days
How does Beowulf counter Unferth’s claim that Beowulf is too prideful?
He says that Unferth is a coward who hasn’t even tried to defeat Grendel
What do Beowulf’s warriors do after their feast in Herot?
Go to sleep
What does Grendel do while the men feast and sleep?
He watches Herot in hiding and waits to attack
What element does this quotation show: “But fate, that night intended Grendel to gnaw the broken bones of his last human supper”
Foreshadowing, that Grendel will die tonight
What does Beowulf do when he sees Grendel killing his men?
He silently watches while pretending to be asleep
Beowulf uses the element of _______ to attack Grendel
surprise
What element does this quotation show: “hard-hooved horses, high-spirited stallions…”
Alliteration
Beowulf uses what to display his defeat of Grendel?
Grendel’s arm
Where does Beowulf display Grendel’s arm?
in the rafters of Herot
When Grendel’s mother finds out about Grendel’s death what does she take first?
Grendel’s arm from Herot
What do these quotations describe?
“windy Cliffs, wolf-dense where water pours from the rocks”, “mist streams like black clouds”, “…groves of trees…covered with frozen spray, and wind down snakelike roots”, “snakelike roots that reach as far as the water and help keep it dark”, “that lake burns like a torch” , “no one knows its bottom, no wisdom reaches such depths” – explain how the lake is unknown, “A stag with great thorns…prefers to die on those shores, refuses to save its life”, “waves splash toward the sky, as dark as the air”, “the heavens weep”, “terrible home”
Grendel’s mother’s home
What does Grendel’s mother do to get Hrothgar and Beowulf angry?
She kills Auschere and leaves his head on the shore for them to see and so that she knows that they will come for her
What advantage did Beowulf have in the battle with Grendel?
familiarity with the location, Herot
What advantage does Grendel’s mother have in the battle with Beowulf?
Fighting in her cold, murky lake home
What experienced does Beowulf have that may prove helpful in his battle with Grendel’s mother?
He has fought sea monsters before
What is Hrunting? And what is its purpose?
The sword of Unferth, Beowulf tries to cut off Grendel’s mother’s head with it, but he is unsuccessful
Beowulf decides again to use his _____ to win the battle
bare hands
What element does this quotation show?
“God, who sent him victory, gave judgment For truth and right, Ruler of the Heavens…”
Foreshadowing that Beowulf would win the battle against Grendel’s mother
What does Beowulf actually end up using to kill Grendel’s mother?
the sword of the Giants
What did everyone think when Beowulf went to battle for the second time?
that he was dead, because it took so long
What does Beowulf take back after the battle?
Grendel’s head, with Naegling the sword
What is a warrior’s success based on?
the loyalty of followers
What happens when Beowulf wins battles?
Bards sing about him
What does Hrothgar warn Beowulf about?
The effects of having too much pride
About how old is Beowulf when he leaves the land of the Danes?
27 years old
When he goes back to the Geats, what does he do?
He becomes the king and rules for 50 years
About how old is Beowulf when he becomes king?
37 years old
The story resumes again when Beowulf is about how old?
87 years old
Why does Beowulf feel insufficient?
He is only living off the fame and glory of his reputation, but he feels that he needs to prove his worth and greatness
What does Beowulf need to do to re-establish himself as a warrior?
find a battle
What happens to cause the next battle?
A servant of Beowulf’s discovers the cave of a dragon along the cliffs and decides to steal a cup
What do dragons normally do?
Hoard treasure and count it
What does Beowulf do to “solve” this problem?
He decides to fight the dragon instead of simply returning the cup and apologizing
What does treasure represent to the warriors?
Bravery
What does Beowulf decided to fight the dragon with?
armor and the sword of the giants and shield
What happens to Beowulf’s chosen warriors?
They retreat in fear
Who comes back to help Beowulf?
Wiglaf
What immediately happens in the battle?
The dragon melts the shield of Beowulf and breaks the sword of the Giants
What does the dragon do next?
He bites Beowulf by the throat
What happens to the dragon?
He is killed and his body is tossed into the sea
What does Beowulf ask Wiglaf to do before he dies?
He asks him to bring him some of the dragon’s treasure
What does Beowulf give to Wiglaf right before he dies?
His gold necklace, helmet, rings and mail shirt
Why was it necessary that Beowulf die in his last battle?
Because he fought the dragon, which in Anglo-Saxon society was seen as Death, the Devourer
What happens to Beowulf?
He is burned with the treasure at a funeral pyre
What is significant about the funeral?
A woman wails loudly, which suggests that she was a lover to Beowulf
What is built in honor of Beowulf?
A tower
What is the purpose of the tower?
It serves as a beacon to sailors, and it contains Beowulf’s ashes
What does Wiglaf do after the funeral of Beowulf?
He shames and banishes the warriors who had deserted Beowulf in his last battle
Who says this? “luck will save a man if his courage hold”
The 13th Warrior
Who says this? “Often, for undaunted courage,Fate spares the man it has not already marked.”
Heaney
Who says this? “Fate often delivers an undoomed earl If his spirit be gallant.”
Kennedy
Who says this? “Fate saves The living when they drive away death by themselves!”
Raffel
Who two motifs appear throughout the story of Beowulf in relation to religion?
Fate and Free Will
What is important about Fate?
It cannot be changed, no matter way
What is important about Free Will?
You can decide what will happen, usually
Non-Christians in this story are said to be _______
fated
Christians believe in what?
Free Will
What court case was Beowulf read aloud in?
The Sutton Hoo Treasure