Anglo-Saxon Literature: Beowulf

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. a)powerful monsterb) demon, fiend who haunts the moors (marshy wild land)c) spawned (given birth) by a pair of monsters descended from Caind) 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.
Give a detail of Grendel’s attack. He sneaks up at night, grabs men and smashes them, runs out with their bodies, takes them to his lair as food.
Name a specific ancient ancestor of Grendel. Cain
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.
Who is Beowulf? A young warrior from Geatland. He is “strongest of the Geats” and “greater and strongest than anyone anywhere in the world.”
Name the country from which Beowulf comes. Geatland
Who is Higlac, and how is Beowulf decide to do? Why? He decides to go help Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, get rid of the monster Grendel.
Why does Beowulf’s kinsmen urge him to go? (lines 114-119) Because Hrothgar needed the help and because Beowulf was loved by the Geats.
How did Beowulf hear about the wrath of Grendel? (lines 144-145) Sailors brought the stories of Herot and Grendel’s attacks at night
What are the accomplishments Beowulf states he’s done? (Give two; lines 151-160) These are Beowulf’s Boasts: a) Drove 5 giants into chains and chased all of that race from the earthb) Hunted and killed one by one the monsters of the ocean
What request does Beowulf make of Hrothgar? (Be specific) that he alone and with the help of of his men would rid the evil (Grendel) from the mead hall and that he will do so without a weapon
Why wouldn’t the Danes have to sew shrouds for the Geats if Grendel triumphs? Grendel will carry their bloody flesh to the moors, crunch their bones, and smear torn scraps of skin on the walls of his den (lair)
When does Grendel arrive at Herot? That night
From where does Grendel come (lines 233-235) out of the marsh from the foot of misty hills and bogs
What surprises Grendel when he comes in contact with Beowulf? 1st: Beowulf was awake and ready, and 2nd: Beowulf instantly seizes him and bends back his claws to his arm.
Why could the men’s swords not harm Grendel? Grendel had “bewitched all the men’s weapons, laid spells that blunted every mortal’s blade.”
How does Beowulf kill Grendel? He snaps off his arm. Grendel escapes, but he could only flee to his hole (lair) at the bottom of the marsh to wait for death.
What does Beowulf do after Grendel escapes? Why? He hangs Grendel’s claws, arm, shoulder (all attached) from the rafters of Herot (mead hall).
Give 2 descriptions (short phrases) of Grendel in this section. Forever joyless, rushed angrily, snarling/fearce, “floodeed with fear,” and “writhing monster” (writhing means moving in pain)
List 4 very specific details of Herot found in this section. (lines 290-305) a) Hall rang, roof boards swayedb) Herot trembledc) beautiful walls shaped and fastened with irond) built to withstand all EXCEPT FIRE
List 4 very specific details of Herot found in this section. 1) Benches rattle.2) Gold outside of wall’s. 3) Iron Wall.
Describe Grendel’s Lair 3) It is dark and no one knows its depth2) At night the lake burns like a torch1) Deer refuse to flee into its dark waves even to escape certain death by wolves on the shore
What is Grendel’s mother’s motivation for going to Herot? Be specific. Avenge her son.
After celebrating Beowulf’s victory, what occurs at Herot? The Danes return to eating and sleeping in Herot because they felt they were now safe. (Beowulf and his warriors were housed in a different hall then)
Two things mother caries back to her lair from Herot? 1) Grendel’s arm.2) Hrothgard’s best friend (dead).
What do the Danes entreat Beowulf to do? What would be his reward? To Kill Grendel’s mom. Lots of gold.
Where does Beowulf find the mom? He has to dive for 4 hours to the muddy bottom of the lake; she finds him, attacks him, and takes him to her “home”; while all this is happening, other monsters come to see and take part. Her home is a battlehall bright with light/flame.
What protects him from her claws? His mail armor and God.
What was Beowulf’s motivation in accomplishing this deed? Longing for fame
What happens to Beowulf’s helmet? Bit by the mom.
How does Beowulf kill Grendel’s mother? What was the exact weapon? He sees a sword hanging on the wall – a massive sword hammered by giants, strong and blessed with their magic. He takes this sword and is able to kill her although all that remains of the sword is the hilt (the handle).
What do the Danes who are observing at the lake do? Why? They think Beowulf has been killed when they see blood come to the surface so they leave.
What do the Geats do? They are faithful and stay because they cannot believe they will never see him again.
What two items does Beowulf carry w/ him back to Herot? 1) Grendel’s head.2) Mighty sward (hilts of the giants jeweled sword.)
What’s Beowulf’s future when he returns to Geatland? King of Geats
Beowulf’s last enemy (monster) was? The Dragon
What happens when Beowulf strikes the dragon w/ his sword. He draws blood, but the sword cracks and breaks off before it goes deep enough into the dragon to cause any significant wound.
What do Beowulf’s comrades do during the dragon battle? They flee and run away
Who’s his loyal soldier that stays during the dragon battle? Wiglaf
How’s the dragon defeated? Beowulf’s sword remnant shatters and the dragon wounds him in the neck. Wiglaf strikes at the dragon with Beowulf and they succeed in killing the dragon.
What’s Beowulf’s request of Wiglaf? Go to the dragon den and get as many treasure as possible.
What happens to Beowulf? What’s his desire? ? He dies leaving Wiglaf to rule as king. After he is burned (cremated), his warriors are to build his tomb high in the form of a tower by the water’s edge.
What’ the fate of Wiglaf? Beowulf gives him his golden necklace, his golden helmet, his rings and mail shirt because Wiglaf will now be king. Wiglaf then attacks the traitors verbally and tells them they cannot share in the treasure and that they must face their shame.
What do the Geats do to honor the wishes of Beowulf? Built the tower, strong, and tall. Dragons treasure left in his tower.
Why does Beowulf want tower built? He wants the tower built of seafarers/sailors could find their way in the darkness, could tell where land was.
In your own words, state a THEME which seems to have been presented in the reading of this story: 1) A job well done, bravery, loyalty, and commitment to good are what are meaningful in life2) Fear, shame, greed, and disloyalty create a bad life.

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