Beowulf: Study Questions
Why does Hrothgar decide to build a mighty hall? What does he call it?
After Hrothgar led the Danes to victory, he commemorated his victory by building a mighty mead hall. He called the hall Herot.
Describe what transpired in the mead hall to evoke the anger of the monster.
The monster dweeling down in the darkness is angered by the music in the hall, by the song of the poet retelling the history of the Danes, and by the sounds of rejoicing.
What is Grendel’s lineage?
Grendel described as being spawned in slime by two of the monsters who were descendants of the Biblical character, Cain, who was banished from God for committing the murder of his brother, Abel.
Why has Grendel been exiled?
Grendel has been exiled, together with all monsters, goblins, and forms of evil-by the Almighty- condemned to live beneath the earth.
What happens during Grendel’s first visit to Herot? When does this occur? Decribe the scene.
Grendel finds Hrothgar’s men asleep in the Herot. He snatches up thrity me, smashes them, and runs out with their bodies
How long does Grendel haunt Herot?
Why doesn’t Grendel attack Hrothgar?
Hrothgar is protected by God.
To what measures do Hrothgar and his nobles resort to rid themselves of Grendel?
They resort to sacrificing to “the old stone gods” and “hoping for Hell’s support” to rid themselves of Grendel.
How does Beowulf react when he hears of the plight of the Danes and Hrothgar?
Beowulf selects the bravest of soldiers in Geatland and travels across the seas to help.
How are Beowulf and his men received when they arrive on the Danish shore?
Hrothgar’s lieutenant demands to know their business before they can proceed.
Why does Beowulf describe himslef by recounting his heritage? Why has he come?
Beowulf wants to impress those who do not know him, assert his authroty so others will follow him into battle against Grendel, and make clear to all present that he alone deserves the honor of killing the monster.
How does the watchmen respond to Beowulf’s explanation of why they have come to the rescue of the Danes?
The watchmen believes Beowulf and decides to escort him, himself, to the court of Hrothgar.
Hrothgar’s herald greets Neowulf and his men, Accordong to the herald, what distinguishes Beowulf’s visit from those of others who have come before him?
None of the others ever brought all their best soldiers to assist Hrothgar.
Who is Wulgar? What role does he play in this chapter?
Wulfgar is a noble Swede, known for his strength and wisdom. Wulfgar offers to introduce Beowulf and his men to Hrothgar, King of the Danes
According to Wulfgar, why have Beowulf and his men come all they way from Geatland to help the Danes?
According to Wulfgar, God has sent Beowulf on his mission to help the Danes defeat Grendel.
Describe Beowulf’s boasts upon meeting Hrothgar, king of the Danes.
Beowulf greets Hrothgar by regailing him with stories of his great strength and prior exploits. Beowulf drove giants into chains and chased them from the earth, and has hunted monsters out of the ocean.
What one request does Beowulf make of Hrothgar?
beowulf asks Hrothgar to allow him and his men alone to drive Grendel from Herot.
If Beowulf loses the battle with Grendel, what are his instructions for after his death?
Beowulf tell Hrothgar that if Grendel defeats him, the Danish king should send the mail of his armor to Higlac, and return the inheritance he had from Hrethel.
How did Hrothgar become king? What is the past relationship to the Geats?
Hrothgar’s older brother, Hergar, was king and died, making Hrothgar king. Hrothgar worked with Beowulf’s father, Edgetho, to secure an earlier peace.
What is the purpose of the feast that Hrothgar hosts in Beowulf’s honor?
The feast is to honor Beowulf and his men before they head off to face Grendel.
Identofy Unferth. Why does he seem to be perplexed by Beowulf’s stories? How does he address Beowulf?
Unferth is a danish nobleman who is angry that any warrior anywhere has achieved greater glory than he has. Enferth call Beowulf a “boastful fool”.
Describe Unferth’s tale of the swimming competition between Brecca and Beowulf.
unferth tells the story of a swimming competition between Beowulf and Brecca that lasted for seven long nights and ended with the sea carrying Brecca home to victory – not far from the shores of his native Norway.
What is Beowulf’s response to Unferth?
Bewoulf recounts that he swam side by side with Brecca for five nights until a storm carried him away where he was attacked by sea monsters. he killed nine monsters before washing up on a Finnish beach.
Beowulf continues with his story, countering Unferth’s tale. How does his tale end?
Bewoulf explains that he killed many monsters and challenged Unferth to find any man- Brecca included – who could match his bravery.
Welthow is Hrothgar’s “gold-ringed Queen.” She is described as a noble woman who knows “what is right.”
What is Hrothgar’s declaration to Beowulf at the end of Chapter 9?
hrothgar pledges his life-long friendship to Bewoulf, declaring that “wheresoever you go, wheresoever I am, should you need help, my friend, I will be there.”
Beowulf and his men move into Herot for the night while Hrothgar sleeps peacefully. WHat is Beowulf’s boast?
Beowulf boasts that he will defeat Grendel with his bare hands.
What do Beowulf’s men think of their chances against Grendel?
The men believe they will never see their homeland again, that they will be defeated by Grendel.
How does Grendel respond when he comes to Herot? Describe his reaction to seeing the sleeping Geats.
Grendel tears the hinges off the door at Herot and is thrilled at the sight of the sleep Geats- expecting to fill his belly with their meat.
What happens when Grendel reahes for Beowulf?
Beowulf grabs Grendel and begins a hand to hand battle with him.
Describe the struggles between Beowulf and Grendel.
Herot trebles as Beowulf and Grendel fight to the death. Beowulf prowess causes Grendel to shriek in agonizing pain.
What happens when Beowulf’s men attack Grendel? Account for his outcome to their efforts.
Beowulf shouts at them to get back, saying he has Grendel under control.
At the conclusion of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel, What transpires?
Grendel is no match for Beowulf, who rips the monster’s arm from its socket and leaves Grendel mortally wounded, running back to his cave.
On the morning follwing the battle, describe the reactions of Hrothgar’s people.
They rejoiced with no sense of remorse for teh monster’s suffering
Describe the lake into which Grendel vanished.
The lake into which Grendel vanished was steaming and boiling with blood, and it was very wavy.
Who is Siegmund? Why is his story recounted?
Siegmind was a legendary hero to the Danes. Tales of his exploits were passed down through generations. Beowulf’s victory over Grendel was likened to Siegmund’s great feats.