Beowulf: Short Review
What Biblical story is refereed to (Grendel)?
Cain and Able (ln 99-114)
From who is Grendel descended?
Cain (ln 99-114)
Where does Grendel live?
With Banished monsters (ln 103) In swampy areas – in cave under lake
How many men does Grendel kill on his first night at Herot?
30 men (ln 122)
How hard do the Danish warriors fight to protect Herot against Grendel? How is it significant in portraying Beowulf as a hero?
They didn’t fight , which was a contrast to Beowulf (who fought valiantly) (ln 129-135)
How many years does Herot remain empty at night because of Grendel’s reign of terror?
12 years (ln 147-148)
How does Beowulf here about Grendel’s attacks on the Danes?
Sailors (ln 409-411ish)
What object of Hrothgar’s is protected by God, and therefore out of Grendel’s reach?
the throne (ln 168)
How did the Danes turn away from God in an effort to rid themselves of Grendel?
pray ; swear oaths to devil (ln 176-178)
Who is king of the Geats?
Higlac (ln 260)
How many Geat warriors accompany Beowulf to Denmark?
14 (ln 206)
In what way are Christian beliefs displayed when the Geats reach the shores of Denmark?
they thank God for there ability to cross the sea (ln 227)
What is the Danish guard’s first impression of the Geats?
They don’t seem like they are ordinary intruders. They appear to be noble. (ln 247-250)
Who is Beowulf’s Father?
Ecgtheo (ln 371-372)
How id Beowulf related to Higlac?
Higlac is uncle to Beowulf
How does Hrothgar display comitatus (friends of King, body guard, supper loyalty) in greeting Beowulf?
Don’t see him as a threat, but still keep a watch on Beowulf (ln 389-400)
friends of King, body guard, super loyalty
What Anglo-Saxon heroic elements are illustrated in Beowulf’s speech to Hrothgar in this section?
Honor, Strength, Courage, Willing to Die (ln 420-425)
What is Hrothgar’s connection to Beowulf’s father?
He knew him when he was younger (ln 372)
Describe how the characters in this poem speak in speeches rather than conversations.
They give life lessons & oaths & are very formal
How is feasting used in Anglo-Saxon society?
What is it about Beowulf that makes Hrothgar believe that “At last… Grendel could be killed; he believed in Beowulf’s bold strength and firmness of his spirit”?
Beowulf had confidence (ln 607)
Explain the light/dark imagery seen in this section.
When night fall, evil (Grendel) comes. Light = Hope (ln 603) light coming from east = guarantee from God (ln 564)
How does Beowulf further separate himself from a regular warrior to become a super human hero?
He doesn’t wear armor or use weapon — he rips Grendel’s arm off
What evidence is given that the Geat warriors who accompany Beowulf aren’t as confident as he is? How does pointing this our serve to enhance Beowulf’s heroic stature?
They don’t fight Grendel, they just mock him. Beowulf brought the best warriors, but even the best warriors can’t defeat Grendel, but Beowulf can.
What evidence is given of Grendel’s strength?
He kills people and no one can defeat him. He ripped the door off its hinges (ln 721-725)
From whose point of view is it when Grendel first enters Herot?
third person (ln 86)
Why might Beowulf allow one of him men to be killed by Grendel before facing him himself?
To see how strong he really was
Despite Grendel’s fierce reputation, what is his first reaction when confronted with Beowulf?
He is terrified & he wants to run away (ln 750-755)
What magical protection does Grendel have against the Geat warriors who try to help Beowulf?
He puts a spell on their weapons, so it doesn’t harm him. (except the big sword)
Grendel escape to die at the bottom of the marsh, but what does he leave behind for Beowulf to display?
Many come to heot and follow Grendel’s bloody tracks to where?
What does the “bloody, streaming, and boiling lake” that Grendel descend represent?
death and hell
As men gallop back to Herot, how do they rejoice in Beowulf’s victory?
The boasted about Beowulf’s accomplishments ? (ln 828)
How does Hrothgar’s speech to Beowulf illustrate the Christian aspects of the narrative? As usual, what is the method of celebration?
He thanks God and talks about God (ln 927-930) ; Feasting
What material gifts are given to Beowulf as a reward by Hrothgar, thus fulfilling the warrior/king pact?
Hrothgar says, “no worldly good that won’t be yours” (ln 949) So basically he is giving him everything (that is of the world at least)
What is another example of the poet interjecting Christian ideas into the narrative?
In Beowulf speech, he says ” like a man outlawed for wickedness, he must await the mighty judgment of God in majesty” That is just another example of a mention of God.
What monster in now bent on revenge?
As the warriors try to fend off the monster, what 2 things does she escape with?
1. “One of the retainers” ” to hrothgar, this man was the most beloved friends” (ln 1294-1297) 2. “Grendel’s bloodied hand” (ln 1303)
Why weren’t Beowulf and his men in the hall that night?
He was staying somewhere else. “Beowulf was elsewhere. Earlier, after the award of the treasure, the Geat had been given another lodging” (ln 1299-1301)
Why was Hrothgar particularly upset with the actions of Grendel’s mother?
He killed his close friend. “His highest-placed adviser, his dearest companion, was dead and gone.” (ln 1309-1310)
Who is killed by Grendel’s mother?
Hrothgar’s close friend(ln 1309-1310) “one of the retainers” (ln 1294-1297)
What point is mentioned for the first time?
Describe the home of Grendel’s mother.
Under a lake, murky water “The water was infested with all kinds of reptiles. there were infested with all kinds of reptiles. there were writhing sea- dragons and monsters slouching on slopes by the cliff, serpents wild things” (ln 1424-1428)
What heroic perspective does Beowulf give to comfort Hrothgar?
“Wise sir, do not grieve. It is always better to avenge dear one than to indulge in mourning.” (ln 1384-1385)
What is found floating on the lake?
serpents and reptiles (ln 1424-1428)
What weapons does Beowulf take with him?
He didn’t use the weapons he took with him, but he used a sword he found. “The he saw a blade that bonded well a word in her armory; an ancient heirloom” (ln 1557-1558) ” a rare and ancient sword named Hruming” (ln 1457)
What supernatural ability does Beowulf possess?
Strength “but so huge and heavy of itself only Beowulf could wild it in Battle.” (ln 1561-1562) Also hold his breath for long time
All the battles in Beowulf are witnessed by others; who witnesses the battles between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother?
Fellow warriors (ln 1422) (ln 1632) People were not in the cave with him, but after he won people were outside of the care and saw Beowulf right before and after Beowulf won. God witnessed it & helped Beowulf. (ln 1657)
Why doesn’t Hrunting help Beowulf?
Grendel’s skin was too tough for the sword to pierce. (ln 1522-1525)
What weapon does Beowulf use against Grendel’s mother?
He tries one sword, but it doesn’t work. He uses a giant’s sword. (ln 1550-1557)
What light/dark imagery is used after Beowulf defeats Grendel’s mother
“clouds darkened aboce the bloodshot depths” (ln 1633) this is dark imagery
What 2 things does Beowulf take with him when he ascends to the surface of the lake?
Grendel’s had and the Giant’s sword (ln 1613-1614)
How confident are the Danes that Beowulf is the victor?
When they saw blood bubble up they thought Beowulf had died. (ln 1591-1594)
What evidence are we given of Grendel’s size?
“It was a task for four to hoist Grendel’s head on a spear” (ln 1637-1638)
What does Beowulf present to Hrothgar?
Grendel’s head and the hilt (ln 1677)
How do the Danes and Geats celebrate victory?
Feast (ln 1789)
Who takes this throne following Higlac’s and Beowulf’s cousin’s death?
Beowulf – and he ruled it well (ln 2208-2209)
How long did Beowulf rule? Whose rule was just as long?
50 years (ln 2209); Hrothgar’s (ln 1770-1771)
What wakes the dragon and causes its anger against all of Geatland?
a thief/slave that manages to steal government goblet (ln 2228-2229)
For the first time in the poem, a character is mentions who is not a member of the aristocratic class; who is it?
The slave who stole the goblet (ln 2224)
How is the darkness concreted to evil in this section? Where have we seen this before?
“Then an old harrower of the dark happens to fined the hoard open the burning one who haunts out barrows” (ln 2270-2273) dark = bad just like all the other examples
How is Beowulf, the king, personally touched by the dragon’s wrath?
his home was burned (ln 2324-2325)
About how old do you think Beowulf is when he faces the dragon?
At least 70 because he was king 50 years (ln 2209) and he was probably at least 20 when he became king
What feeling overcomes Beowulf unlike any he has felt before a battle?
Grieving (ln 2331-2332)
Although an old man, how does Beowulf still typify the heroic warrior?
He is strong and aggressive. (ln 1512-1513)
As the battle against the dragon rages on, what does Beowulf’s men do?
Run away to the woods (ln 2597-2598)
Who is the only on to remain and help Beowulf?
Higlaf (ln 2600ish)
What urges Wiglaf to remain loyal despite the danger?
He saw Beowulf’s torture ; remembered how he used to be
What does Wiglaf do to urge the men into rejoining Beowulf in this battle?
Reminds of oaths ; loyalty (ln 2633)
How is Beowulf injured by the dragon?
Bitten on the neck (ln 2691ish) ; burned hand ; eventually killed
How does Wiglaf aid Beowulf in killing the dragon?
Stabbed his belly (ln 2701-2702)
List the father/son relationship evident in the poem.,
Beowulf gives to armor to Wiglaf since he didn’t have a son (he was like a son i guess) (ln 2729-2730 ish)
How do Beowulf’s last moments illustrate more pagan that Christian elements?
Beowulf ways he would be comforted with dying with treasure in his arms (ln 1651-1653)
How does the poet comment on the uselessness of putting so much values into material things?
“How easily treasure burried in the ground, gold hidden however skillfully, can escape form any man!” (ln 2764-2766)
What is Beowulf’s last request of Wiglaf? What can you compare this to?
Use the stuff and gold wisely. Don’t waste your money on candy.
What does Wiglaf do after Beowulf dies?
Wiglaf corrects and rebukes the young ones for running away. (ln 2860-2861)
Describe Beowulf’s funeral.
Built pryre, gold and body put in it, and set on fire (ln 3010-3014)
What happens to the treasure?
Some burned and buried, some just buried somewhere else (ln 3010-3014)
The king of the Danes. Hrothgar enjoys military success and prosperity until Grendel terrorizes his realm. A wise and aged ruler, Hrothgar represents a different kind of leadership from that exhibited by the youthful warrior Beowulf. He is a father figure to Beowulf and a model for the kind of king that Beowulf becomes.
cowards, not able to defend themselves “No help or backing was to be had then from his high-born comrades; that hand-picked troop broke ranks and ran for their lives to the safety of the wood.” ln 2596-2599
cowards, not able to defend themselves, had to go through a lot of difficulty “Inflicting constant cruelties on the people” ln 165
“Grendel was the name of this grim demon” ln 102 A demon descended from Cain, Grendel preys on Hrothgar’s warriors in the king’s mead-hall, Heorot. Because his ruthless and miserable existence is part of the retribution exacted by God for Cain’s murder of Abel, Grendel fits solidly within the ethos of vengeance that governs the world of the poem.
An unnamed swamp-hag, Grendel’s mother seems to possess fewer human qualities than Grendel, although her terrorization of Heorot is explained by her desire for vengeance—a human motivation. Grendol’s mom does something terrible “At night there, something uncanny happens” ln 1365
An ancient, powerful serpent, the dragon guards a horde of treasure in a hidden mound. Beowulf’s fight with the dragon constitutes the third and final part of the epic. “The slick-skinned dragon, threatening the night sky With treamers of fire.” Ln 2273
Beowulf was a winner. “Beowulf was granted The gory of winning” ln 817-818 The protagonist of the epic, Beowulf is a Geatish hero who fights the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. Beowulf’s boasts and encounters reveal him to be the strongest, ablest warrior around. In his youth, he personifies all of the best values of the heroic culture. In his old age, he proves a wise and effective ruler.
Beowulf’s father; married Hrethel’s daughter, becoming Higlac’s brother-in-law; fled to Hrothgar’s Denmark after beginning a feud which resulted in his exile, since the people feared this feud would become a war. Hrothgar recounts the help he gave Beowulf’s father by supplying him with enough treasure, a weregild, to avoid war with the Wulfings. Although Hrothgar says that it “bothers him” to have someone else kill Grendel, he knows that Beowulf has his father’s debt to pay.
The young king of the Geats; married to Higd; Beowulf’s uncle and lord; youngest son of Hrethel; father of Herdred; father-in-law to Efor; brother of Hathcyn and Herbald.
wise “Wiglaf spoke wise and fluent words ” ln 2632 A young kinsman and retainer of Beowulf who helps him in the fight against the dragon while all of the other warriors run away. Wiglaf adheres to the heroic code better than Beowulf’s other retainers, thereby proving himself a suitable successor to Beowulf.