Beowulf Questions: Review Over Book
Who is King of the Danes (Denmark)?
he repaid their loyalty with the spoils of victory
How was Hrothgar generous to his knights?
a huge hall, or stronghold
What did King Hrothgar build for this people?
What was the name of Hrothgar’s stronghold?
to entertain the knights with feasts and music and protect them from enemies
Why did Hrothgar build Heorot?
they were gone and the walls and floor were splattered with blood and gore
After the night’s festivities, what happened to King Hrothgar’s guests?
Who did Hrothgar say did this?
gigantic monster, part human, part devil, part animal
How is Grendel described?
of great goodness
What kind of person did it take to kill Grendel?
bottom of the lake forever in water caves with his monster mother and other evil creatures
Where did the magician banish Grendel to live?
Grendel killed them and carried their bodies off to the caves
What happened to the ten more knights who guarded the next feast?
Who escaped Grendel’s second attack on Heorot?
a part of Sweden called Jutland, the land of the Geats
Where did the troubador go?
Who is King of the Geats?
Who decided that he would conquer Grendel?
King Hygelac’s 18 year old nephew
Who was Beowulf?
a swimmer of superhuman endurance
What power did Beowulf have?
entered a swimming contest, storm created whirlpools, dashed against cliffs, nixies attacked him, Beowulf killed them all
How did Beowulf prove this superhuman strength?
clutched rocks with one hand and used his weapons with the other
How did Beowulf survive the nixies?
gave him his own precious sword
How did Hygelac reward his nephew?
What was the sword’s name?
How many men did Beowulf take to Denmark?
he begged him not to undertake the mission
What was King Hrothgar’s first reaction to Beowulf’s decision to go after Grendel?
How did Beowulf think Grendel would be defeated?
Christianity and paganism
What two religions are practiced by the characters of Beowulf?
What clan is Grendel from?
In lines 1 and 2, what phrases point to Grendel’s evil nature?
“living down in the darkness”
“growled in pain”
Who are Cain and Abel?
The sons of Adam and Eve
What does Grendel do at night?
Snatched up men out of their beds, smashed them, and ran away with their bodies
How many years did Herot remain empty?
What person is an epic associated with..
What was Herot?
the gathering place for the king’s warriors
Where did Grendel attack first?
What year was Beowulf written
When the poem BEOWULF was finally written, who wrote it
To be spawned is to be …
the ancestor of Grendel is ..
Who did Cain commit the 1st murder with
What language was Beowulf written in
Who was the King of Danes
What biblical book was the opening of Beowulf similar to?
What is Grendel hoping for as he leaves the moors?
to kill anyone he could trap
the hall was “crowded with sleeping ____, stuffed with rows of ____.”
The monster’s mind was hot with ____ and ____.
the thought of food/the feasting his belly would soon know
What does “fate” have in store for Grendel that night?
to gnaw the bones of his last human supper
How many men does Grendel kill?
What is the only thing that Herot Hall cannot withstand?
Grendel screams, waking up the ____. When they wake they try to help Beowulf by attacking Grendel with their ____.
What is Beowulf using to fight Grendel?
Grendel escapes, but leaves his ____ behind.
What is hanging from the rafters? Who put it there?
Grendel’s claw, Beowulf
Why does Beowulf allow Grendel to devour one of his best men in the night’s attack ?
To see how Grendel fights
A.How does Herot Hall hold up under the battle between Grendel and Beowulf? B. What could destroy it?
A. It holds up through the huge and powerful battle
Which of the Anglo-Saxon virtues / values (friendship, loyalty, peace and courage); does Beowulf display in the battle with Grendel?
What is the setting of the first part of the epic?
Herot (Hrothgar’s mead hall)
What familiar story is told by the speaker in the first 12 lines of the poem?
Creation myth (Genesis)
How was Grendel conceived (created), and where is he required to live?
Created by monsters descended from Cain. In a hell on earth; swamp; lair
In lines 23-29 what universal theme in literature is introduced for this poem?
Good vs. Evil
Describe Grendel’s attack on Herot Hall. How long have the attacks gone on as the story opens?
Grendel attacks at night. He snatches up thirty men, bashes them and takes their bodies to his lair.
What does Grendel symbolize?
Grendel symbolizes evil.
What part of Herot does Grendel avoid and why?
Hrothgar’s throne; He can’t touch it because it is protected by God.
What element of paganism is seen in Hrothgar’s people?
Made sacrifices to the old gods.
Who is Hrothgar?
King of the Danes (people of Denmark)
What is Herot?
A wooden, large mead hall where men of the community go to meet, celebrate, eat, sleep, etc.
Describe Grendel using 4 specific details from the text.
* powerful monster
* demon, fiend who haunts the moors (marshy wild land)
* spawned (given birth) by a pair of monsters descended from Cain
* has great claws – tears apart and eats men/drinks their blood
What irritates Grendel and becomes his motive for attacking Herot?
The men are happy, enjoy music, live in nature’s beauty, enjoy each other’s company in the mead hall – all things he can not do/jealous
What happens to Herot? (lines 60-62)
The mead hall stays empty for years: 12 winters. It is constantly attacked by Grendel who would not agree to any kind of truce or payoff. Grendel would never touch the king’s throne because it was protected by God.
What does Beowulf symbolize?
It was the place where kings and nobles would gather in order to celebrate, boast and brag, feast and listen to the professional poets.
What did the mead-hall represent to the Anglo-Saxon warrior?
A long narrative poem on a serious subject presented in a formal style. Beowulf is an example of an epic poem.
What is an epic poem? Give an example:
The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginnings or words.
“The harrowing history haunted the heroes.”
What is alliteration? Give an example:
A literary device in which a noun is renamed in a creative way using a compound word or union of two separate words to combine ideas.
Sky-candle (the sun) is an example of a kenning.
What is a kenning? Give an example:
A warrior or thane would pledge to defend his lord or King to the death. In return the lord or King would reward him with land and gifts.
What was the relationship between lord/king and warrior?
A formal exchange of insults. Saying something insulting.
What is a flyting?
A traveling poet. They told the story of Beowulf.
What is a scop?
Christianity and Paganism
Which two belief systems are present in the story?
The Geats (in Southern Sweden)
From which tribe did Beowulf originate?
Grendel comes from Cain (the son of Adam and Eve; Cain killed his brother). Cain committed the 1st murder in history by killing his brother, Abel. All evil things come from Cain’s heritage, including Grendel.
From whom was Grendel said to be descended? Why was Grendel an outcast?
He served Hrothgar. Beowulf’s father took safety in Hrothgar’s land after a messy battle at home. He married Hrohgar’s daughter and the gave birth to a baby named Beowulf. Hrothgar is Beowulf’s grandfather.
Whom did Beowulf serve? How were they related?
Beowulf’s father, Edgetho, was friends with Hrothgar. Beowulf believes only he is able to kill Grendel and he wants the glory and fame of killing Grendel. He also pays the debt to Hrothgar on behalf of his father.
Why did Beowulf feel the need to help King Hrothgar? Give both answers.
Unferth doesn’t like Beowulf. He is angry that any warrior anywhere has achieved great glory that he has.
Which of Hrothgar’s warriors was critical of Beowulf? Why?
Beowulf’s best friend from childhood. Beowulf beat him in a swimming contest.
Who is Brecca?
The mead-hall, Herot
Where did King Hrothgar’s warriors find rest and relaxation?
Denmark, the Danes
Where does Hrothgar rule? What is the name of his people?
He will kill him with his bare hands.
With what weapon does Beowulf intend to fight Grendel?
How many years has Grendel terrorized the King Hrothgar’s people?
How many men does Grendel kill on his first raid?
He uses his hands to tear off Grendel’s shoulder, arm and hand.
How does Beowulf kill Grendel?
What trophy does Beowulf have to show that Grendel has been defeated and where does he display this trophy?
Who seeks revenge on behalf of Grendel and what is this revenge?
Any treasure he wanted.
What does King Hrothgar promise Beowulf if he rids the kingdom of evil?
In a cave underwater.
Where does Grendel’s mother live?
God is watching out for him.
How does Beowulf survive Grendel’s mother’s attack?
He fights her with his bare hands because his sword Hrunting would not kill her. He then uses a giant’s sword and cuts off her head.
How does Beowulf finally kill Grendel’s mother?
Beowulf becomes the king of which people?
How long does Beowulf reign over his people?
He wants fame and glory to prove his is still honorable and worthy of being king.
Why must Beowulf fight a dragon?
He is defeated by the dragon.
How does Beowulf die?
They run and hide in the forest.
Where are Beowulf’s men when he is fighting the dragon?
Who is the only loyal follower who helps Beowulf?
Tower, or tomb
By what symbol is Beowulf remembered by his people?
He uses weapons less and less and uses his hands. He does things the hard way to please God. He is trusting God to determine his fate.
How does Beowulf’s dependence on weapons change over the course of the story? What does this say about his faith and strength?
Unferth’s sword that he gives to Beowulf.
What is Hrunting?
Germanic and Nordic empires
Which empire had a significant influence on Anglo-Saxon culture (positive and negative)?
Literature that created the oral tradition and praised the heroic deeds of the warriors
The hero is a protagonist whose life is a series of well-marked adventures.
o Endures separation and hardship
o Pays a price
o Entrance into a challenging world
o Returns to the ordinary
Creature of Nightmare
• Monster usually summoned from the deepest, darkest part of the human mind (psyche)
• Threatens the life of the hero
• Often a perversion or desecration of the human body.Grendel is a creature of nightmare.
• Servant who is somewhat heroic themselves
• Protects the hero and reflects the hero’s nobilityWiglaf is Beowulf’s loyal retainer.
Characteristics of the Epic Poem
• The setting is big and vast, often taking place in different nations
• A journey
• Supernatural beings or events
• Long speeches
• Themes that reflect timeless values (courage and honor) and encompass universal ideas (good and evil, life and death)
• Formal language (diction) and serious tone
Characteristics of the Epic Hero
• Descended (comes from) the gods or is of noble birth
• Embodies the ideals, values and morals of the culture
• Performs superhuman deeds
• Performs actions that determine the fate of a nation or large group of people
• Is imperfect
• Learns a lesson
• Is tempted by women
• Is stronger, smarter and braver than other menHow is Beowulf like this?
Hero, protagonist of Beowulf
Monster, antagonist of Beowulf
Beowulf hung Grendel’s arm from the ceiling in Herot.
Danish man (Thule for King Hrothgar) who challenges Beowulf.
Beowulf’s uncle; King of the Geats.
Beowulf’s father and Hrothgar’s friend.
A person who keeps the king honest without the king having to say anything dishonest or rude to the guests of his mead hall.
Unferth is King Hrothgar’s thule.
Individual who pledged to defend his lord or King to the death; in return, the King would reward him with land and gifts.
Beowulf was a Thane for King Hrothgar.
Name for traditional rounds of drinking (to celebrate).
There were usually 3 rounds of symbel (drinking or toasts):
1. To a god
2. To an ancestor
3. Boasting of deeds
Peace. Women were the keepers of the frith (peace).
Gift of land and wealth given by a future husband to his future wife
King Hrothgar’s mead hall.
The place where kings and nobles would celebrate and feast and listen to poets
Alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water; the drink in the mead halls.
The religion of the Germanic peoples; they believed in cremation (burning bodies after death)
They worshiped many gods and were not exposed to the new and growing faith of Christianity
New religion that promised an afterlife.
Scops / Bards
A figure of speech in which consonants are repeated, especially at the beginning of words
figure of speech that compares two things that have something in common; do not use the words “like” or “as.”
Thunor / Thor
Anglo-Saxon god of thunder and lightning; Thursday if named after him
Woden / Odin
Anglo-Saxon god of death, poetry, and magic; Wednesday is named after him
Burial and Cremation
Burial – Christian method; bodies are buried in the ground.
Cremation – burning bodies after death; Pagans
Setting of Beowulf. Hrothgar’s kingdom.
Setting of Beowulf. Beowulf’s land. Geatland.
King Hrothgar’s people.
Name of Unferth’s sword that he gives to Beowulf.
Length of time Grendel has been terrorizing Herot and King Hrothgar’s people
How long did Beowulf rule as King of the Geats?
Great Britain was invaded and settled by: (Name them all)
Angels, Saxons, Jutes
How many giants did Beowulf remove from the Earth
What is a mailshirt
The main type of body armor used by Anglo-Saxons.
How many men did Beowulf bring with him to battle Grendel
What are the name of the people of Beowulf homeland
What Beowulf is the strongest of
Higlac is Beowulf ‘s …
Beowulf removed the sea monsters from where?
What was Beowulf single request from Hrothgar
to purge the hall of all evil
to completely cleanse
What was special about the men Beowulf chose?
They were the strongest men of the Geats
Beowulf approached Hrothgar with a mail shirt and …
What was the second conquest of Beowulf?
hunted and destroyed monsters from the sea
Beowulf wanted to battle Grendel equally by fighting?
bare fist and bare
Where is Beowulf from?
How many men does Grendel kill in the battle with Beowulf?
Why can’t Grendel get away from Beowulf?
he has a tight, hard and unescapable grip
Why can’t Beowulf’s friends help him kill Grendel?
weapons were bewitched so they could do no damage
Grendel escapes, but Beowulf takes his _______________.
Where does Grendel escape to?
his den in the marsh
What are rafters?
Sloping pieces of wood that support the roof
Why is Grendel unable to attack Hrothgar?
Hrothgar throne is protected by God
Why can’t the 14 soldiers of Beowulf kill Grendel?
The soldier’s swords could not pierce his skin