Time Beowulf was written circa 9th century AD
Text is: Old English or Anglo-Saxon (English); Folk Epic (oral tradition)
Poet is what religion? Christian, but Germanic tribes are not
Anglo-Saxon Prosody consist of half lines organized by by accents and ______ alliteration
Alliteration the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words; Anglo-Saxons used it A LOT
Assonance the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible (ex: penitence, reticence)
Kenning metaphor and compound word (ex. ring-giver or sky-candle)
Scop a poet-singer who recalls and performs poems
Like Gilgamesh, Beowulf is also an example of heroic literature
Conventions of Heroic Literature male-dominated society; warrior-king is hero; feats of courage, strength, cunning, etc are celebrated; weapons and battles; quests and journeys; Nationalistic: celebrates a people’s origins, heroes
Warrior king is: Ring-giver: rewards loyalty with spoils of battle, armor, weapons, land
Warriors expected to protect king and remain loyal in time of crisis Thanes
Violence is part of life and has a price: wergild
Wergild “man price” which is paid to clan or tribe to avoid inevitable revenge
Beowulf is a Geat
Where are the Geats from? tribes of Southern Sweden; also Waegmunding, Swedish clan name
Who is Beowulf’s father? Ecgtheow
Ecgtheow banished man who took refuge with Danes for a time, returned to fight with Geats and marries Geats’ King’s daughter
Who is King of the Geats? Hygelac
Who is King of the Danes? Hrothgar
Enemies of Beowulf and Germanic tribes in the text: Jutes (Frisians), Swedes (Scylfings), Hetho-bards
What monument did Hrothgar decide to construct? Heorot, mead-hall
What monster disturbed the peace? Grendel; he killed 30 men
Who was Grendel descended from? Cain, who was exiled from the Creator for killing Abel
How long has Grendel wreaked havoc on the Danes? 12 years
Why did Hrothgar pay wergild for Beowulf’s father, Ecgtheow? Ecgtheow killed Heatholaf, a member of the Wulfing tribe. Hrothgar sent treasure to the Wulfings to mend the feud, and Beowulf’s father pledged his allegiance to Hrothgar.
How does Beowulf want to fight Grendel? unarmed
Which Dane taunts Beowulf at dinner? What does he say? Unferth; says he once lost a swimming match against Breca and that Beowulf will meet with defeat for a second time when he faces Grendel in the mead-hall
How does Beowulf reply? he and Breca had struggled in icy waters for five days and five nights when suddenly Beowulf found himself pulled under by a monster; he slayed the monster and then washed ashore; he then says that Unferth and Breca could not have survived such an adventure, and Unferth is hopeless against Grendel
The argument between Unferth and Beowulf is an example of…? flytting (verbal combat)
Battle with Grendel Grendel enters, kills a thane, wrestles with Beowulf;Grendel protected from cutting weapons; Beowulf pulls Grendel’s arm from socket; Grendel runs back to his swamp
What is this an example of: “The latching power in his fingers weakened; it was the worst trip the terror-monger had taken to Heorot.” litotes
Litotes form of ironic understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary (e.g., you won’t be sorry, meaning you’ll be glad )
Who does the scop sing about during Beowulf’s honoring celebration? the story of Sigemund, a great hero who slew a terrible dragon
Who adopts Beowulf as a son? Hrothgar
Bestowing of riches on Beowulf weapons, armor, treasure, and eight of his finest horses. He then presents Beowulf’s men with rewards and compensates the Geats with gold for the Geatish warrior that Grendel killed.
Scop sings of fight at Finnsburg where Danes were attacked by Jutes despite Finn’s marriage to a Dane. Their truce for winter, and then the ambush and slaughter of Jutes
Hrothgar and Beowulf trust each other, but Unferth is under a cloud because he killed his brothers
Who does Grendel’s mother kill when she attacked Heorot? Aeschere, a very good friend and mentor of Hrothgar
Was Beowulf in the mead-hall during Grendel’s mother’s attack? no
What did Grendel’s mother take from Heorot? Grendel’s arm
Who summons Beowulf to kill Grendel’s mother? Why? Hrothgar because of the death of Aeschere
Tale of 2 creatures on the moors Hrothgar says he has heard there are two creatures from another world prowling on the moors; one looks like a women and the other a warped shape of a man (Grendel and his mother); says they are fatherless creatures and are from demons and ghosts; NOTE: Hrothgar doesn’t know any of the Biblical genealogy about Grendel and his mother that the poet already told us
Grendel’s mother’s home lake that burns at night and it has never been reached by man
Beowulf’s speech he made before going to kill Grendel’s mother is an example of: warrior code
What did Unferth give Beowulf before he left to kill Grendel’s mom? the great and seasoned sword named Hrunting, which has never failed in any battle
Hrunting sword Unferth gives Beowulf; has never failed in any battle
Battle with Grendel’s mother Grendel’s mother sensed Beowulf’s approach and clutched him in her grip; Hrunting was unable to pierce her skin and he couldn’t fight her successfully without a weapon; he saw a huge sword on the wall, grabbed it, and slayed her
Who does Beowulf decapitate after he kills Grendel’s mother? Grendel
Why did the Danes return to Heorot in sorrow? they saw blood coming from the depths and thought it was Beowulf’s; only the Geat’s stay
What did Beowulf notice about the waters after G’s mom was killed? they were no longer infested
What does Beowulf present to Hrothgar? Grendel’s head and the sword he used to kill Grendel’s mom, which has melted from her blood
What did Hrothgar tell Beowulf he has done for the Geats and Danes? united them in ties of friendship and loyalty
Hygelac is killed in battle with the Shylfings
What does Hygelac reward Beowulf with? Hrethel’s sword, land, a hall, and throne
How many years does Beowulf rule the Geats? 50 years
What is happening in Geatland now? a thief stole a goblet from a dragon; the dragon can’t figure out who did it so he is breathing fire and destroying everything (revenge motif); eventually he burns Beowulf’s throne hall down
What does Beowulf do about this? he makes the iron-smith make a shield for him that will stand up against flame; he is too proud to assemble an army, but gets 11 men and the thief to lead them to the dragon
Fight with the Dragon Beowulf tries to hack his sword against dragon but is not as strong as he use to be; all Beowulf’s companions run away except for Wiglaf; Beowulf’s sword (Naegling) breaks; dragon bites Beowulf in the neck; in last attempt Beowulf pulls knife from belt and stabs dragon; it dies
Wiglaf last of the Waegmundings; the one companion that did not run away and helped Beowulf fight
Beowulf’s last speech thanks God for the treasure he has won for his people; tells Wiglaf that he has to look after the Geats now; orders Wiglaf to tell his troup to build his a barrow and call it “Beowulf’s Barrow”; Beowulf dies
Men that left Beowulf during battle come back and are ashamed of themselves; Wiglaf calls them cowards
Wiglaf’s warning of future battles with Franks, Frisians, Swedes now that Beowulf is dead
Beowulf’s funeral Beowulf’s bier is built and laden with treasure from dragon’s barrow

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