Beowulf and Grendel

Themes of Beowulf Art/Artists, Importance of Language, Nihilism, Death, Heroism (a moral force), Good vs. Evil
Beowulf is a ______ non-chronological parody
The number 12 is important because…. there are 12 chapters, 12 raids in 12 years, and 12 zodiac signs
Hrothgar the king of the Scyldings; a wise and venerable leader weighed down with sorrow and loss; placed in the unevitable position of requiring outside help to solve his deadliestproblem, Hrothgar nevertheless stands proud as he decides to accept Beowulf’s help; he shares his wisdom about kinship with Beowulf before he goes home
Grendel the first and most memorable foe the Beowulf must face; a hideous creature, not human ut has human emotions and motivations; similar to Cain, an outsider; condemned to live in a horrible and lonely place outside of human community; envious of the happiness the humans have
Unferth one of the soldiers (Scyldings); jealous of Beowulf and taunts him; he feels resentment and inferior; he is humbled by Beowulf’s win and gives Beowulf his prized sword when he hoes to fight Grendel’s mom; he understands that he will never be a true hero
Wealhtheow Hrothgar’s wife and queen; she gives a grave splendor to festivities in Herot; Beowulf pledges to kill Grendel or die trying; and her confirmation legitimizes it; she symbolizes what is good in women (esp. of rank)
Grendel’s mother swamp-fiend; never named; fierce and dangerous; enraged by her son’s death, she attacks and flees, killing Aeschere; when Beowulf shows up, she attacks; has a human desire for vengeance; contrasted by Wealhtheow
Hygelac King of the Geats; fond of Beowulf, surprised that he won, so he gives him gofts to show the respect Beowulf has won; he dies, and Beowulf refuses to take the throne; he does take it when Hygelac’s son is killed
the Dragon ancient creature; lived in a barrow; there is a treasure was hidden; the treasure is stolen and the Dragon brings devastation to Geatland; he is Beowulf’s last foe
Wiglaf kinsman to Beowulf; a warrior that Beowulf takes to seek the Dragon; the only one who doesn’t flee; he is made Beowulf’s heir for his bravery
Herot the world’s greatest mead hall; high-towered, tall, and wide-gabled
Grendel’s lair “the moors which lay in perpetual darkness”; the exact opposite of Herot
Why does Grendel attack Herot? Because he was grim, hungry, and blinded by sin; he was also supposedly a descendant of Cain, so it was in his blood to be evil
How long were the Danes terrorized by Grendel? 12 years
What was the “cruelest of injuries” and what limit did God have to that outrage? Grendel moved into the meadhall; God wouldn’t let him touch the throne
Why does Unferth bring up Grendel’s swimming match with Brecca? How does Beowulf respond? Unferth dislikes anyone who has had more glory than he has; Beowulf tells the story and says that he killed monsters while at sea, and neither Brecca or Unferth have done that before
Why does Beowulf decide not to use a weapon against Grendel? so that he can perform the deeds of a hero, and he wants to fight Grendel with his pure strength; Grendel doesn’t use any armor either
Why does Beowulf wait, allowing Grendel to kill one of the Geats, before he attacks Grendel? Beowuld wanted to see the outcome of Grendel killing a Geat so that he would know Grendel’s strategy.
Why can’t the other warriors succeed in helping Beowulf? Their swords cannot harm Grendel because he has an enchantment against them
How does Beowulf wound Grendel? What piece of Grendel is left behind? Beowulf breaks Grendel’s fingers and breaks his arm off by grasping his hand; Grendel’s arm was left behind
Why does Grendel’s mother attack Herot? What does she take with her? Grendel’s mother wanted to avenge her son’s death; she took Grendel’s claw and Hrothgar’s chief warrior (Esher/Aescher)
The Lake the lake’s water is “turbid and bloody”, and “the kin of snakes”; Aescher’s head is floating on it
the fight between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother Unferth gives Beowulfa hilted sword (an ancient treasure) because the sword had never let a man down; but it did let Beowulf down, so Beowulf attacks Grendel’s mom with his own hands, and then he finds another sword made by giants.
Who does Beowulf attribute his victory to? to God for protecting him and helping him see the sword, which he also attributed his victory to
How does Beowulf become King of the Geats? How long does he rule? He became king after Hygelac and Heardred died, and he ruled for 50 years
Why doesn’t Beowulf fear the dragon? He had survived many battles, so he was confident in his strength to beat the dragon
When does Beowulf realize he’s losing the battle? What does he do? What about his followers? Beowulf realizes he’s losing when his armor and sword don’t work like they should have, but he continued on anyway, knowing he would lose his life. His followers run to the woods to save their lives, but Wiglaf advanced to the cave with his own ancient sword.
How are Grendel’s mother and Beowulf killed? Grendel’s mother was stabbed in the middle and cut in the middle; Beowulf died from the venom left behind in the dragon’s bite
What were Beowulf’s last words to Wiglaf? Beowulf says that Wiglaf is the last of the Waegmundings, and that he must follow other warriors into death
What does Wiglaf do to the men who ran off? He told the men that they would lose more than a great king, and he made then make Beowulf’s funeral pyre; they are exiled from home
What does Grendel’s relationship with nature reveal about his personality, and what does he think of himself? Grendel shows contempt for nature and the rebirth of spring; the Earth is nothing but a house for humans, who are food for the humans; Grendel thinks that he is a victim and deserves better
What does Grendel think of his mother? of man? He dislikes his mother because she has many human-like qualities; He thinks man is persistent, vain, annoying, and unobservant to the world
the scene where Grendel gets his foot stuck in the tree Grendel starts to see the world as a place of only chaos and destruction, and humans are the facilitators
What is the significance of “I create the whole universe, blink by blink”? Grendel is so big and mysterious to the humans that he seems to believe that he is in control of every situation
How does Grendel’s first meeting with man affect him? Why does he fear them more than he fears the bull? Grendel learns that there are creatures out there smarter than animals, and that they can hurt him back.
What does Grendel learn about Hrothgar and his theories? What shocks him about man’s behavior to other men and to nature? Why does Grendel fear Hrothgar? Hrothgar is very powerful due tohow much he knows. Grendel is shocked by the bloodshedand violence between men, and how they harm the animals mindlessly. The Shaper has made Hrothgar so much more amplified, which scares Grendel.
How does Grendel feel about the Shaper, poetry? The Shaper brought the meaning into his life through a song, and he could make everything seem real and true. His ability to change people’s minds scared Grendel. Grendel thinks poetry tells nothing but lies. Because of the Shaper’s music, everything in his life has changed, so he is lost and has regressed to his younger years.
What is Grendel’s “conversion”? How does the story of Cain and Abel affect him? Grendel breaks down at the Shaper’s song and begins to believe in God a little bit. Grendel cried for mercy and peace, as did Cain after he killed Abel; he is cursed by the reality of his actions. He also feels a “presence” which is a snake, symbolic of the Adam and Eve story.
Why does Grendel visit the dragon? What does he tell him, and how does that differ from Grendel thinks? Grendel wants to learn about the Shaper. The dragon tells him that the Shaper simply puts together little illusions of reality, and that he provides an illusion of reality. He knows everything becasue he can see the future, and he thinks that man plays games with the world and doesn’t see it completely.
How does Grendel “improve” men? What is the dragon’s ambition, advice, motto? How is Grendel “caged in a limited mind”? Grendel makes men scheme and think; the deaths he caused forced them to appreciate life. Grendel can’t see the future, he only knows experiences.
What is the dragon’s ambition, advice, motto? The dragon wants to count and sort his money. His motto is “Know thyself”. His final advice is to “seek out gold and sit on it”.
How is the dragon’s charm a curse? Even though the dragon can’t be hurt, his heart has grown darker; he could kill them without feeling grief
How does Grendel now react to the Shaper’s song? How is Grendel transformed by his first raid on Herot? In what sense does he “become” himself? The Shaper’s song no longer filled Grendel with doubt or shame; it enraged him. Grendel finally understood why he was put on Earth after his raid. He had become something at last; he had an identity.
Why doesn’t Grendel kill Unferth, and why is Unferth so bitter? What comes of the situation? Grendel doesn’t kill Unferth so that he understands lonliness like Grendel has. Unferth is bitter because he can’t die a hero’s death. Grendel becomes the dragon, because he kills people for the fun of it.
What is Grendel’s law? What does it mean? Grendel’s lawis that there is no limit to desire but desire’s needs. It means that you can want anything except desire’s needs
How is Wealtheow like the Shaper’s songs? How is she different? What is the parallel like between her and his mother? Wesltheow gives her life for those she loves and she changed Grendel’s outlook, however, she is only a human. Grendel knows that they are both good, but he doesn’t understand how or why.
What has happened to Unferth? How does the queen affect him? Unferth is really bitter because he can’t die and he can’t kill Grendel (and people make fun of him). The queen calms him down.
What is Grendel’s Theorum? What is Red Horse’s political ideology? Grendel’s theorum is that any action of the human heart must trigger an equal and opposite reaction. It means that if people want something, they have to act on it. Red Horse thinks that state is an organization of legitimate violence, and that is how one keeps borders safe.
What is the meaning of the “horrible dream which Grendel imputes to Hrothgar”? The dream is a warning, but also Grendel is saying that he and Hrothgar are connected.
What is Grendel’s opinion of religion? Grendel thinks that religion is pointless/meaningless and that it just follows a bunch motions. Grendel doesn’t believe in God, but it’s all he talks about.
What are Grendel’s encounters with Ork and the 4th Priest? Grendel is angry because the 4th Priest embodies man and the way in which he believes in God even after hearing from the Devil, and Ork is a great priest that says that the King of Gods is limiting and irrational and the nature of Evil is that time of punishing.
Why is Grendel so frightened and infuriated by the goat? The goat is doing something dangerous and he still survives, which intimidates Grendel.
How does the Shaper’s affect Grendel? Grendel is just really unsatisfied and upset because the Shaper died.
How has Grendel’s mother changed? What is their relationship now? Grendel’s mother is even more insane, walking on twos or fours, etc. They are fairly indifferent to each other, he is more like the mother now.
How does Grendel perceive Beowulf and the Geats? In what ways are Beowulf and Grendel alike? Grendel perceives the strangers as a new game for him to figure out and play. They both want people to know who they are, and they want to be the best.
How and why is Grendel defeated? How do illusion and words help cause Grendel’s death? Grendel is defeated after getting his arm ripped off by Beowulf. He is destroyed to bring peace to Herot again. Grendel imagines Beowulf as the dragon and the words of the dragon confuse and distract him, making him no longer invincible.
Why does Beowulf make Grendel sing of walls? They represent the structure of life and how hard they are.
How does the last chapter echo earlier chapters? Explain Grendel’s last words, :Poor Grendal’s had an accident… So may you all”. The last chapter circles back with Grendel crying for his mom, and he feels joy. The quote is a threat. Because Beowulf killed Grendel hopes that everyone watching experiences the same pain and embarrassment.

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