Beowulf Review Questions

What is the function of Herot? a “master mead-house,” used as a gathering place for the Danes. used to drink and eat and enjoy entertainment.
Who or what is Grendel? Why does he live isolated in the marshes? a descendant of the CainCain was exiled bc killed bro. Grendel inherited his ancestor’s curse.
What evidence of Christianity is there in this largely pagan poem? 1. Grendel= a descendent of Cain= allusion to the earlychs of Genesis. Likewise, bards of Heorot sing and tell tales from Genesis: tales of “how the Almighty fashioned the earth … [and] … set the sun andmoon as lights … [and] … adorned the earth’s expanses with tree limbs.” Both firmly establish Christian influences on this Anglo-Saxon work.
How does the oral tradition help attract Beowulf to the Danish shore? Grendel wreaked destruction on the Danish tribe for more than a decade. His ferocious deeds become known to other Scandinavian tribes through “ballads of lament” sung by bards throughout the Germanic world. Thus, Beowulf and his kinsmen hear about the desperate situation the Danes are facing and decide to come to Hrothgar’s aid.
How does the Danes’ response to Grendel evidence a clash of culture between pagan and Christian cultures? in the hall of Heorot, the bards sang songs alluding to Genesis, but in their tribulation, they resort to sacrifices and rites to pagan gods for help with Grendel.
What practice engrained in the heroic code is illustrated by the term “giver of rings?’ giving treasure to worthy warriors. Hrothgar is expected to reward his warriors with treasure. When his followers refer to Hrothgar as the “ringgiver,”it becomes clear that he is a respected ruler who knows how to treat his kinsmen fairly.
What does Beowulf’s decision to fight without weapons reveal about his character? reveals both his wisdom and his honorhe wants to fight fairly. He knows in their previous attempts to protect themselves, Hrothgar’s men did not find their weapons or armor at all helpful.
What does Grendel do to his victims? Goes to herot, tears the bodies of his victims apart, drinks their blood, and devours their entire bodies.
At what point does Beowulf seize Grendel to fight him? Beowulf takes hold of Grendel’s arm when he in to grab him and kill him. When he thought he was sleeping
How heroic is Grendel? How do you know? Grendel is not at all heroic. he is not willing to fight fairly. When he realizes that Beowulf has a hold of him and that Beowulf is amazingly strong, all Grendel wants to do is flee to his lair.
What, apparently, is the source of Grendel’s invincibility? sorcery to make himself impervious to swords, lances, and other weapons.
How does Beowulf defeat Grendel? dislocates Grendel’s shoulder and tears arm off. This is a fatal wound for the monster.
Thematically, why is the way Beowulf fights Grendel significant? The fact that Beowulf fought Grendel in unarmed, hand-to-hand combat instead of weaponsshows strength and prowess
What reminder of the oral tradition are we given after Beowulf defeats Grendel? in the beginning of the poem, the narrator tells his listeners that the history he knows is “as men TELL…” not as it has been written.
What is significant about the fact that the avenger is Grendel’s mother and not his father or some male relative? Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian society is patriarchal, and a large part of identity is through male ancestorsGrendel= no male to represent him = lack of worth, his alienation from the culture and society of the Danes and the Geats.
How fearsome a monster is Grendel’s mother? Why? The poet says she is considerably less fearsome, just as a female warrior would less valiant than a male warrior. Clearly, we are seeing the bias of a poet living in a patriarchal society
How do Grendel and his mother suggest a mixing of pagan and Christian traditions in theculture of the poem? They are specifically identified as descendants of Cain from the Judeo-Christian scriptures (the Christian Old Testament), yet their lair—where Beowulf must go to fight Grendel’s mother—is clearly reminiscent of the pagan underworld.
What supernatural elements are present in this battle that were not present in the fight against Grendel? he is truly superhuman, somehow not breathing while he descends in the water of the lake for “most of the day.” He is fully armed and armored, yet he is able to swim and maneuver
What apparently supernatural aid does Beowulf receive in his battle in the underwater cave? the sword of giants with which he kills Grendel’s mother.Then mysterious bright light appears to help him explore the cave and find Grendel’s body.
What is different between the way the Danes and the Geats react when Beowulf does not return immediately from his battle with Grendel’s mother? What do their different reactions reveal about the two tribes? Hrothgar and his kinsmen head back to their castle. They do not believe that there is any chance Beowulf will return from his battle. Beowulf’s own kinsmen, however, remain at the entrance to the underwater caves. Though they, too, doubt that Beowulf will be victorious, they are loyal to their leader and refuse to leave until they know for sure that Beowulf is dead.
Why does Beowulf apologize for carrying weapons against the dragon? Beowulf comments that he would prefer to fight the dragon bare-handed, the way he defeated Grendel, but the dragon breathes fire, so Beowulf must protect his body.
How is the dragon eventually defeated? What is the narrative significance of this victory? Wiglaf vows to help his leader.Together defeat the dragon, “felling the foe.” Beowulf and Wiglaf as “twin princes,” indicating that the torch of leadership and heroism has passed from the aging Beowulf to the young but brave Wiglaf. Ivictory achieved assures listeners/readersof the continued bravery among the Geats
What is Beowulf’s request of Wiglaf once the dragon has been defeated Beowulf asks Wiglaf to view the treasure the dragon has been hoarding.
What is Wiglaf’s message to his kinsmen? Why is it significant Wiglaf criticizes themfor abandoning their lord. He believes that the cowardly behavior of his kinsmen will bode ill for the future of the Geats. he warns that “all will you lose when highborn lords from afar hear of your flight and ignoble deeds,” evensuggesting that “death is better for warriors than an entire life of shame
19. According to the Beowulf poet, what leads to Beowulf’s victory against Grendel’s mother? his armor protects his body from Grendel’s mother’sgrace of God who assures his victory

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