Beowulf Review Questions

Who is the Danish King? Hrothgar
What is the name of the mead hall built by the Danish King? Herot
Of what topic, clearly a Christian allusion, does the poet sing in the mead hall? “The ancient beginnings of us all.” God making the earth.
From where does Grendel come? the seed of Cain – Hell
Of which monsters is Grendel conceived? Monsters born of Cain and banished by God
In his first attack upon the mead hall, how many men does Grendel kill? 30
What are laments? expressions of sorrow; songs or literary composition that mourns a loss or death
For how many years has Grendel terrorized the mead hall? 12
What, “protected by God,” did Grendel never dare to touch? Hrothgar’s Glorious Throne
Who is Healfdane? Father of Hrothgar
What is the name of Beowulf’s tribe? The Geats
Who is Higlac, and what is his relationship to Beowulf? Higlac is the King of the Geats, and is Beowulf’s uncle.
How many warriors join Beowulf on his journey to Denmark? 14
Upon arriving in Denmark, whom do Beowulf and his men thank for a safe journey? God
Who challenges Beowulf and his men upon their arrival in Denmark? Hrothgar’s lieutenant
Who is Edgetho? Beowulf’s father, a great soldier known as a leader of men
Who guides Beowulf and his men to the mead hall after they arrive? Hrothgar’s Lieutenant
When Beowulf introduces himself as Higlac’s cousin, what does the word cousin mean? a broad term referring to any relative
What does Beowulf claim he has drove . . . into chains? Five great giants
What “favor” does Beowulf ask of the Danish king? That he be allowed to fight alone, with only the men he brought with him.
What boast, concerning his upcoming battle with Grendel, does Beowulf make? That he will fight without weapons, similarly to Grendel himself.
If he is defeated in battle with Grendel, what does Beowulf ask the king to send back to Higlac? “Hammered mail of my armor”
Who is Hrethel? Beowulf’s grandfather and former King of the Geats.
Who is Wayland? Blacksmith of Germanic legend that forged armor for Hrethel.
Who does Grendel kill before he meets Beowulf? The first Geat he comes across.
What does infamous mean? having a bad reputation; notorious
What does writhing mean? twisting, as in pain
What is the only force that can destroy the mead hall? Fire
What had Grendel “bewitched” (put a spell upon)? All weapons/blades of the men
How does Beowulf defeat and kill Grendel? Rips his arm off, and Grendel later bleeds to death in his lair.
Where does Beowulf hang the “proof” of his victory over Grendel? The rafters of the mead hall
What describes the water of the lake to which Grendel retreats? Bloody, steaming, and boiling
Where does Grendel’s mother live? The bottom of a cold, dark lake.
To avenge her son’s death, whom does Grendel’s mother kill? Hrothgar’s closest friend.
What title (epithet) identifies Grendel’s mother? Greedy she-wolf
What does Grendel’s mother retrieve from the mead hall? Grendel’s arm
Where does Beowulf’s battle with Grendel’s mother take place? The lake in which Grendel’s mother lives
Who or what is Hrunting? sword that a Danish warrior had lent to Beowulf
Why does the mother’s dagger inflict no harm on Beowulf? The woven mail shirt he was wearing blocks it
To whom does the speaker (the scop) also credit for Beowulf’s not being stabbed by the dagger? God
What weapon does Beowulf find in the lair of the mother, with which he successfully kills her? A heavy sword
Whose head does Beowulf cleave off? Grendel’s mother
Which is the first group to leave the edge of the lake, fearing Beowulf has died in battle? The Danes
Which group stays behind? The Geats
From the lair of Grendel’s mother, what two trophies does Beowulf take back? Grendel’s head and the hilt of the giants’ Jeweled sword
After the battle with Grendel’s mother, whom do Beowulf and his men thank? God
How many men does it take to carry back the head of one of the monsters? At least four
What does Beowulf present to the Danish king after the defeat of Grendel’s mother? The jeweled hilt of the magic sword
What proclamation does the Danish king then make? The Danes and Geats are allies.
Who is Herdred? Son of Higlac and King of the Geats
For how many years did Beowulf rule Geatland? 50
Where had the dragon lay sleeping, undisturbed for hundreds of years? A huge stone tower, with a hidden path beneath
What woke the dragon? A man stumbled upon the entrance and stole a cup the dragon had been guarding.
With this stolen item, what was the man who took it able to buy? His masters forgiveness
At what time of day did the dragon attack the villages and homes of the Geats? Evening
Whom did Beowulf blame for “bringing The Almighty’s anger down on his people”? Himself
What kind of battle-shield does Beowulf take along with him for his battle with the dragon? Iron-shaped
What boast does Beowulf make about his upcoming battle with the dragon? He knows no fear, and that he will use no weapons.
In line 806, why is Beowulf referred to as “the Geat’s ring-giver”? He is the best of them
What did many of Beowulf’s soldiers do as their king fought with the dragon? Fled for their lives
Who is Wiglaf? Wextan’s son; while Swedish, consideres himself to be a Geat
Who is Wexstan? Father of Wiglaf, who killed the nephew of Onela and was entitled to the throne of the Swedes.
What sort of gifts had Beowulf given to Wexstan’s family? Armor, Gold, and estates
Where does the dragon drive its tusks, inflicting a mortal wound upon Beowulf? Neck
How does Wiglaf show his courage and his loyalty to his king? He strikes the dragon lower down, avoiding the head of the dragon and helping Beowulf kill it
Before he dies, what does Beowulf ask Wiglaf to bring to him? The Dragon’s treasure, specifically ancient silver, precious Jewels, shining armor and gems
Before dying, whom does Beowulf thank for the treasure they have taken from the dragon? God
Having no children, whom does Beowulf ask to be the Geat’s new leader? Wiglaf
To what custom does the phrase “funeral flames” refer? the custom to cremate the bodies of the dead on a pile of flammable materials known as a funeral pyre.
What kind of tomb does Beowulf ask to be made after his cremation? A high tower on the land of which he died called Beowulf’s Tower
How does Wiglaf respond to those who deserted Beowulf during the battle with the dragon? He calls them cowards for running from the dragon after all Beowulf did for him.
Aside the wood necessary for the pyre, with what else have Beowulf’s people decorated the pyre? Helmets, battle shields, and shining mail shirts
How many days did it take Beowulf’s tribe to erect his monument? 10
Aside from Beowulf’s ashes, what else was left in the walls of Beowulf’s monument? All the treasure he and Wiglaf took from the dragon.
In lines 1128 – 1132, what message does the scop leave with his audience? Beowulf’s followers mourn his loss, recognizing the greatness of his character and remembering all that he has done.

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