Beowulf Study Guide

Characters: Matching
Beowulf Heroic warrior who later became king of the Geats
Grendel Monster – bears the curse of the descendents of Cain
Grendel’s mother sea nymph-like monster, seeks vengeance on Danes for the death of son
Scyld arrives from sea as a child; founds royal Danish line
Hrothgar King of the Danes; builder of famous mead-hall.
Heorot name of mead-hall
Hygleac King of Geats who sends his men to help the Danes
Unferth …Danish thane who taunts Beowulf; later offers a sword
Aeschere Hrothgar’s trusted advisor and important Danish official; killed by Grendel’s mother
Dragon goes on a rampage after slave steals his treasure
Wiglaf Only thane who stays with hero during the dragon battle
Multiple Choice:
After his death, Scyld’s body is… – set adrift at sea
Beowulf come to Herorot from… Geatland
As a result of Grendel’s attacks on Heorot… the Danish thanes no longer sleep in mead-hall
“Swan-road” is an example of… a kenning
Unferth taunts Beowulf because he is jealous of Beowulf’s fame and boldness
Beowulf chose to fight Grendel unarmed because he thinks it may be impossible to kill Grendel with a man-made weapon
Beowulf prepares to fight Grendel’s mother with a borrowed sword called … Hrunthing
Beowulf kills Grendel’s mother with… a sword loaned to him by Unferth
Beowulf’s main motive in fighting the dragon is… to be a noble leader and protect his people
During Beowulf’s battle with the dragon, all of his men … except one flee to the forest to save their lives
Beowulf dies because … the dragon inflicts a mortal wound
At his death, Beowulf … thanks god for the riches his people will receive and plans his own funeral
After his death, Beowulf’s body is burned and… placed in a barrow (coffin) on a cliff overlooking the sea
Wiflaf tells the thanes who ar not present at Beowulf’s death that … death is better than a life tainted by shame
Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, was written … by a poet whose identity is a mystery
In the Old English manuscript, each Beowulf line is split to create a pause called a… Caesura
Vocaublary
mead-hall… bar that serves an alcoholic drink of fermented honey and water
scop… composer and storytellers of Anglo-Saxon poetry
thane a soldier
stalwart of great strength
byrny a shirt of armor
nicor – a water spirit; half human and half fish a water spirit; half human and half fish
mere a lake or pond
lair – den or dwelling den or dwelling
hilt the handle of a sword
pyre a bonfire for burning a dead body
dirge sorrowful hymn sang
succor a lake or pond
moored secured a ship
linden light soft wood
gorges eats greedily
talons claws
sinews tendon
runic consisting or set down in ancient alphabe used for writing Germanic script, especially Germanic languages
scruples morals or ethical considerations that restrain one’s behavior and inhibits certain actions
epic poetry a long narrative written in an elevated style which celebrates the deeds of a legendary hero
epic hero superhuman her of an epic
alliteration the repetition of similar sounds, especially the initial consonant sound of a word or a stressed syllable
comiatus Germanic code of loyalty
wergild man-payment, the practice of paying a slain man’s family to atone for the deed and to prevent them from taking revenge against the manslayer
kenning two-word metaphorical name for something – sea-road for ocean
Keenings:
whale-road stormy ocean
swan-road a calm ocean
hall-troops thanes
sky-candle the sun
slaughter-dew blood

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