Anglo- Saxon Literature: Beowulf

Who is Hrothgar? King of the Danes
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 1. powerful monster2. demon, fiend who haunts the moors3. spawned by a pair of monsters descended from cain4.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, enjoying music, live in natures beauty, enjoy each others company in the mead hall
describe 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 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.
Who is Beowulf? A young warrior from Geatland. He is “strongest of the Geats” and “greater and stronger than anyone anywhere in the world.”
what does Beowulf decide to do? why? kill Grendel for fame
how did Beowulf hear about the wrath of Grendel? by the sailors
what request does Beouwlf make Hrothgar? to let him and his men kill Grendel without using any weapons
when and why does Grendel arrive at Herot? at night
what surprises Grendel when he comes in contact with Beowulf? hes awake and he has a strong grip
Why could the men’s swords not harm Grendel? sin stained demon had bewitched all mans weapons, laid spells that weaken every mortal mans blade
How does Beowulf kill Grendel? he used his hands to pull Grendel’s arm off
what does Beowulf do after Grendel escapes? why hung Grendel’s arms, claw and shoulder as proof of his victory
give two descriptions of Grendel in this section 1. sharp claws2. strong teeth
list 3 very specific details of Herot found in this section 1. benches rattle2. gold outside of walks3. iron wall
Describe Grendel’s lair. 1. its dark and no one knows its depth2. in the swamp 3. his mom and other creatures are undersea
what is Grendel’s mothers motivation for going to Herot to avenge her sons arm
after celebrating Beowulf’s victory, what occurs at Herot Grendel’s mom attacks Hrothgar’s best friend
name 2 things Grendel’s mother carried back to her lair from Herot 1. Grendel’s arm2. Hrothgar’s best friend
What do the Danes entreat Beowulf to do? What would be his reward? to kill the mom and he would get lots of gold.
Where does Beowulf find Grendel’s mother? 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 battle hall bright with light/flame.
What protects him from her claws? His mail shirt protects him, BUT his sword called “Hrunting” cannot hurt Grendel’s mother so it is pretty much worthless.
what was Beowulf’s motivation in accomplishing this deed? (lines 485-486) he longed for FAME
what happens to Beowulf’s helmet Grendel’s mother bit holes in it which would be the last time anyone would or could wear it
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 still able to kill her although all that remains of the sword is the hilt (the handle)
After Beowulf kills her, what does he do before leaving the lair? he finds Grendel’s body and cuts off his head
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 2 items does Beowulf carry with him back to Herot? 1. giants sword hilt2. Grendel’s head
what is Beowulf’s future when he returns to Geatland? when Higlac (the king of the Geats) dies, Beowulf becomes king and rules for 50 years
Beowulf’s last enemy to fight is a fire breathing dragon. Beowulf uses his sword this time because the dragon is armed with fire.
what happens when Beowulf strikes his enemy with 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 in this battle? They are faithless and cowards so they do NOT stand and fight with Beowulf; they run away in fear into the deep forest.
Who is his loyal soldier? Wiglaf. He tries to get the others to come with him to fight with Beowulf, but when they do not, he goes in to help Beowulf.
How is the enemy 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 is Beowulf’s request of Wiglaf? He asks him to go find the dragon’s treasure and to bring him some of its gold, jewel, etc. He can die more easily if he can see the treasure he can leave to his people.
what happens to Beowulf? what is 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 is 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.

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