Beowulf Test

Why is the Anglo-Saxon period usually dated from 449? 449 marks the date when the first band of people from the great North German plain crossed the North Sea to Britain and settled in what is now Kent.
Who occupied the British Isles before the coming of the Anglo-Saxons? The Britons, a Celtic people
Who is credited with the unification of England? King Alfred of Wessex because he was able to unite his people and force the Danes to the northeastern half of England
Who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury? Saint Augustine who established a monastery
Why has so little Anglo-Saxon poetry survived? It was an oral art-they were not written down until a much later period.
What function was performed by the scop? The scop was the memory and historian of the tribe. He was in charge of remembering important heroes and battles, the kings, and folklore
What are the two major traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry? The heroic tradition and the elegiac tradition (mourns the passing of earlier, better times)
With what work was Bede associated? He was one of the greatest prose writers of the Anglo-Saxon churchmen. He was the most learned and industrious writer of the period, he wrote “History of the English Church and People”
What work was begun by King Alfred as a record of English history? “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, the first historical record kept in English
What event brought the Anglo-Saxon period to a close? The Norman Conquest
What is a Lay? A short narrative poem focusing on one incident
What is Litotes? An understatement or negative statement creating irony, negative term to make a positive statement
What is a Wergild? A sum of “worth money”- the price of a man- based on rankings
Scyld Shefing One of first great kings of the Danes, great grandfather of Hrothgar
Beow the Dane A Danish King, son of Scyld Shefing
Healfdane Danish king, son of Beow the Dane, father of Hrothgar
Heremod cruel Danish King, ruled long before Scyld
Hrothulf Hrothgar’s nephew, kills Hrethric- Hrothgar’s son- when taking the throne
Freawaru Daughter of Hrothgar, unmentioned until Beowulf tells Hygelac about her, Beowulf thinks her marriage to the Hethobard will do more harm than good for the Danes
Ecgtheow Beowulf’s father, kills a man when he was young for which Hrothgar pays the wergild
Wulfgar Hrothgar’s messenger
Hildeburh Story recounted during second feast for Beowulf at heorot- ancient Danish princess who married into Frisian royalty, she was killed in a war with the Frisians
Hygd Hygelac’s queen
Sigemund Ancient germanic hero whose story is recounted after fight with Grendel
flyting ritualized exchange of insults
Anglo-saxon values? Family-revenge and name and , glory, honor, strength, boastfulness
Why do we still study Beowulf? History, one of earliest known english works, good against evil, good poem, figurative, etc.
Why does Hrothgar decide to build a mighty hall? What does he call it? “The fortunes of war favored Hrothgar. Friends and kinsmen flocked to his ranks, young followers, a force that grew to be a mighty army. So his mind turned to hall-building:… Heorot….”(Lines 64-68)
Describe what transpires in the mead hall to evoke anger of the monster. “…diked out rings and torques at the table… Then a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark, nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him to hear the din of the loved banquet every day in the hall…” (Line 80-91)
What is Grendel;s lineage? “Grendel was the name of this grim demon… Cain got no good from committing that murder because the Almighty made him anathema and out of the curse of his own exile there sprang ogres and elves and evil phantoms…” (Line 102-114)
Why has Grendel been exiled? “…hunting the marches, marauding round the heath and desolate fens; he had dwelt for a time in misery among the banished monsters, Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed and condemned as outcasts.” (Line 103-107)
What happens during Grendel’s first visit to Heorot? “So, after nightfall, Grendel set out for the lofty house, to see how the Ring-Danes were settling into it after their drink, and there he came upon them, a company of the best asleep from their feasting, insensible to pain and human sorrow… he grabbed thirty men… blundering back with butchered corpses.” (line 115-125)
How long does Grendel haunt Heorot? “For twelve winters, seasons of woe, the lord of the Shiedlings suffered under his load of sorrow.” (line 147-149)
Why doesn’t Grendel attack Hrothgar? “…he was kept from approaching; he was the Lord’s outcast.” (Line 169)
To what measures do Hrothgar and his nobles resort to rid themselves of Grendel? “Sometimes at pagan shrines, they vowed offerings to idols, swore oaths that the killer of souls might come to their aid…” (line 175-178)
How does Beowulf react when he hears of the plight of the Danes and Hrothgar? “…to sail the swan’s road and search out that king, the famous prince who needed defenders.” (line 200-201)
How are Beowulf and his men received when they arrive on the Danish shore? “When the watchman on the wall…saw shields glittering on the gang plank and battle-equipment being unloaded…nor have I seen a mightier man-at-arms on this earth… he is truly noble.” (line 224-250)Formally asked who are you, where are you from, etc.
Why does Beowulf describe himself by recounting his heritage? “We have arrived here on a great errand to the lord of the Danes, and I believe therefore there should be nothing hidden or withheld between us.” (line 270-272)
How does the watchman respond to Beowulf’s explanation of why they have come to the rescue of the Danes? “I believe what you have told me: that you are a troop loyal to our king. So come ahead with your arms and your gear and I will guide you.” (line 290-292)
Hrothgar’s herald greets Beowulf and his men. According to the herald, what distinguishes Beowulf’s visit from those of others who have come before him? “I have never seen so impressive or large an assembly of strangers.” (line 337-338)
Who is Wulfgar? What role does he play in this chapter? “Wulfgar replied, a Wendel chief renowned as a warrior,… ‘I will take this message, in accordance with your wish, to our noble king,…” (line 348-351)
According to Wulfgar, why have Beowulf and his men come all the way from Geatland to help the Danes? “They beg, my lord, an audience with you, exchange of words and formal greeting.” (line 365-367)Also to kill Grendel
Describe Beowulf’s boasts upon meeting Hrothgar, King of the Danes? “I had great triumphs…every elder…supported my resolve to come here…because all knew of my awesome strength. They had seen me bolstered in the blood of enemies…I have suffered extremes and avenged the Geats…Now I mean to be a match for Grendel…” (line 408-426)
What one request does Beowulf make of Hrothgar? “…my one request is that you won’t refuse me…the privilege of purifying Heorot with my own men to help me, and nobody else.” (line 429-432)
If Beowulf loses the battle with Grendel, what are his instructions for after his death? “No need then to lament for long or lay out my body:… send back this breast-webbing that Weland fashioned and Hrethel gave me…” (line 450-455)
How did Hrothgar become king? What is his past relationship to the Geats? “Finally I healed the feud by paying: I shipped a treasure-trove to the Wulfings and Ecgtheow acknowledged me with oaths of allegiance.” (line 470-472)Became king once his brother was killed
What is the purpose of the feast that Hrothgar hosts in Beowulf’s honor? “…relish the triumph of heroes to your hearts content.” (line 490)
Identify Unferth. Why does he seem to be perplexed by Beowulf’s stories? How does he address Beowulf? “Unferth, a son of Ecglaf’s, spoke contrary words. Beowulf’s coming, his sea-braving, made him sick with envy…’Are you the Beowulf who took on Breca in a swimming match on the open sea, risking the water just to prove you could win?” (line 500-508)
Describe Unferth’s tale of the swimming competition between Brecca and Beowulf “You waded in, … the ocean swayed, winter went wild in the waves, but you vied for seven nights; an then he out swam you, cam ashore the stronger contender.” (line 513-518)
What is Beowulf’s response to Unferth? “You have had your say… The truth is this:… I was the strongest swimmer of all.” (line 530-534)
Beowulf continues with his story, countering Unferth’s tale. Hoe does this tale end? “… my sword had killed nine sea monsters… but worn out as I was, I survived, came through with my life…” (line 574-581)
Describe Wealtheow “Adorned in her gold, she graciously saluted the men in the hall…queenly and dignified, decked out in rings, offering the goblet to all ranks…” (line 614-622)
What is Hrothgar’s declaration to Beowulf? “Never since my hand could hold a shield have I entrusted or given control of the Danes’ hall to anyone but you. Ward and guard it, for it is the greatest of houses.” (line 655-661)If you accomplish your mission, I will give you all you ever wanted.
Beowulf and his men move into Heorot for the night while Hrothgar sleeps peacefully. What is Beowulf’s boast? “When it comes to fighting, I count myself as dangerous any day as Grendel…. Unarmed he shall face me if he dares.” (line 677-685)
What do Beowulf’s men think of their chances against Grendel? “None of them expected he would ever see his homeland again or get back to his native place…” (line 691-693)
How does Grendel respond when he comes to Heorot? Describe his reaction to seeing the sleeping Geats. “And his glee was demonic, picturing mayhem: before morning, he would rip life from limb and devour them…” (line 730-732)
What happens when Grendel reaches for Beowulf? “…the alert hero’s comeback and armlock forestalled him utterly.” (line 747-748)
Describe the struggles that ensues between Beowulf and Grendel “The captain of evil discovered himself in a hand grip harder than anything he had ever encountered in any man… he could not escape… stumbling in fury, the two contenders crashed through the building… the pair struggled, mead-benches were smashed… Then an extraordinary wail arose… He was overwhelmed…” (line 749-789)
What happens when Beowulf’s men attack Grendel? “…they kept striking out on every side, seeking to cut straight to the soul… no blade on earth, no blacksmith’s art could ever damage their demon opponent.” (line 797-803)
At the conclusion of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel, what transpires? “Grendel was driven under the fen banks, fatally hurt…” (line 818-819)”Clear proof…: the whole of Grendel’s shoulder and arm, his awesome grasp.” (line 832-835)
On the morning following the battle, describe the reactions of Hrothgar’s people “many a warrior gathered…flocking from far and near…wondering greatly at the monster’s footprints” (line 836-840)
Describe the lake into which Grendel vanished “The bloodshot water wallowed and surged, there were loathsome upthrows and over turnings of waves and gore and wound-slurry.” (line 846-848)
Who is Siegmund? Why is his story recounted? Siegmund was a dragon-slayer who had protected a kingdom and sent back much treasure. He was known everywhere and everyone was ready for him to become king, just like people with Beowulf.
Upon seeing Grendel’s bloody arm swinging high from the gold-shining roof of Heorot, what is Hrothgar’s proclamation? “Beowulf, I adopt you in my heart as a dear son…there’ll be nothing you’ll want for, no worldly goods that won’t be yours… you have made yourself immortal…” (line 945-953)
Describe Unferth’s reaction to seeing the arm of Grendel “There was less tampering and big talk then from Unferth the boaster, less of his blather.” (line 979-980)
What were Hrothgar’s gifts to Beowulf for removing the threat of Grendel to the Danes? “…an embroidered banner; also breast-mail and a helmet; and a sword carried high… eight horses with gold bridles… a saddle of sumptuous design, the battle-seat where the son of Halfdane rode…” (line 1021-1040)
What gifts does Hrothgar give to Beowulf’s men? “a bounty, some treasured possession. And compensation, a price in gold was settled for the Geat Grendel had cruelly killed earlier.” (line 1051-1054)
How were bodies of the dead disposed of in Anglo-Saxon times? They are burned on a funeral prye
Who are the two sons of Hrothgar and Wealtheow? Why are they permitted at the victory feast? “Hrethic and Hrothmund, with other nobles’ sons, all the youth together.” (line 1188-1189)
What gifts does Wealtheow give to Beowulf at the feast? What are her words to Beowulf about her sons? “…two arm bangles, a mail-shirt and rings, and the most resplendent torque of gold…”(line 1193-1196)”Treat my sons with tender care, be strong and kind.”(line 1226-1227)
Why did the Danes sleep with their armor on? “It was their habit always and everywhere to be ready for action, at home or in the camp, in whatever case and at whatever time the need arose.” (line 1246-1249)
How long had Grendel’s mother dwelt in the cold, murky subterranean lake? “She had been forced down into fearful waters, the cold depths, after Cain had killed his father’s son, felled his own brother…” (line 1260-1263)
What is Grendel’s mother’s motive in coming to Heorot? “grief-racked and ravenous, desperate for revenge.” (line 1277-1278)
Whom does Grendel’s mom snatch? Aeschere-“She had pounced and taken one of the retainers in a tight hold… To Hrothgar, this man was the most beloved of friends he trusted between the two seas… his highest-placed adviser.” (line 1294-1309)
What individuals had witnessed the two fiends prior to the time of the attacks on Heorot? “Counsellors who live in the upland country…” (line 1346)
Describe the location of the place where Grendel lived with his mother “They dwell apart among the wolves on the hills, on windswept crags and treacherous keshes, where cold streams pour down the mountain and disappear under mist and moorland.” (line 1357-1361)
According to Beowulf, what is the only thing that survives death? “Let whoever can win glory before death. When a warrior is gone, that will be his best and only bulwark.” (line 1388-1389)
What do Hrothgar’s men discover on their search for Grendel’s mother? “…they came upon Aeschere’s head at the foot of the cliff.” (line 1420-1421)
Describe the lake that serves as the entrance to Grendel’s mother’s lair “Everybody gazed as the hot gore kept wallowing up and an urgent war-horn repeated its notes… infested with all kinds of reptiles… slopes by the cliff…” (line 1422-1430)
What equipment does Beowulf adorn as he goes in pursuit of Grendel’s mother? “…his war-gear… fine-webbed mail…a glittering helmet… and ancient sword….” (line 1442-1458)
What is the significance of the sword, Hrunting? “The iron blade with its ill-boding patterns had been tempered in blood. It had never failed the hand of anyone who hefted it in battle.” (line 1459-1461)
Describe the encounter Beowulf had with Grendel’s mother. How effective were his weapons? “So she lunged and clutched and managed to catch him in her brutal grip; but his body, for all that, remained unscathed… the shining blade refused to bite. It spared her and failed the man in his need.” (line 1501-1525)
How does Beowulf eventually slay Grendel’s mother? “Then he saw a blade that boded well, a sword in her armoury, an ancient heirloom from the days of the giants… a resolute blow that bit deep into her neck-bone and severed it entirely.” (line 1557-1569)
What does Beowulf do with the body of Grendel that he finds lying in a corner of the lair? “Beowulf cut the corpse’s head off” (line 1590)
What is happening on the surface with Hrothgar’s men while Beowulf is fighting under the lake? “Saw a heave-up and surge of waves and blood in the backwash. They bowed grey heads” (line 1592-1594) then became a clam body of water.Beowulf’s men stay (the Geats) cuz comitatus but the Danes leave
What happens to the “magnificent sword”? “The sword began to wilt into gory icicles to slather and thaw… it all melted as ice melts…” (line 1606-1608)
What does Beowulf take with him as souvenirs of his victory of the demons? “the head and the inlaid hilt embossed with jewels; its blade had melted…” (line 1614-1616)
What “trophy” does Beowulf give to Hrothgar as a symbol of his victory over the demons? “Grendel’s head was hauled by the hair” (line 1647)And the hilt
To what does Beowulf attribute his victory over Grendel’s mother in his audience with Hrothgar? “if God had not helped me, the outcome would have been quick and fatal.” (line 1657-1658)
Describe Hrothgar’s reaction to what is written on the hilt of the sword. What is it? “Showed how war first came into the world and the flood destroyed the tribe of giants…stating and recording for whom the sword had first been made or ornamented… Beowulf, your fame has gone far and wide.” (line 1687-1705)
What has Hrothgar to say of the role of pride for a leader? “He indulges his desires…his mind is untroubled by envy or malice… A killer stalks him, an archer who draws a deadly blow.” (line 1732-1745)
Before Beowulf and his men set sail on their return home, Unferth approaches Beowulf and offers him a gift. What is it? Explain significance “take the sword and thanked him for lending it. He said he had found it a friend in battle and a powerful help, he put no blame on the blade’s cutting edge.” (line 1809-1812)
What is Beowulf’s vow to the Danes prior to his departure? “If there is any favor on earth I can perform… I shall act, my lord, with alacrity. If ever I hear from across the ocean that people on your borders are threatening battle as attackers… I shall land with a thousand thanes at my back to help your cause.” (line 1822-1830)
Describe Hrothgar’s final words to Beowulf . What realization does the old king make? “You are strong in body and mature in mind, impressive in speech… the sea faring Geats won’t find a man worthier of acclaim as their king and defender than you.” (line 1844-1853)
Describe Hygelac’s Queen. How is she received by the Geats? “his queen, was young, a few short years at court, her mind was thoughtful and her manners sure. Haereth’s daughter behaved generously and stinted nothing when she distributed bounty to the Geats.” (line 1926-1930)
Describe Beowulf’s account of his adventures that he relates to his king, Hygelac “myself and Grendel coming to grips on the very spot where he visited destruction… I avenged so no earthly offspring of Grendel’s need ever boast that bout before dawn.” (line 2002-2007)
Why might Ingeld and his followers be angry about seeing Beowulf’s victories over Grendel and his mother? “Now, my friend, don’t you recognize your father’s sword, his favourite weapon, the one he wore when he went out in his war-mask to face the Danes on that final days.” (line 2047-2050)
Why is this chapter devoted to the re-telling of Beowulf’s victories over Grendel and his mother? “When Hrothgar presented this war-gear to me he instructed me, my lord, to give you some account of why it signifies his special favor.” (line 2155-2157)
How does Hygelac reward Beowulf for his feats? “a gold-chased heirloom of Hrethel’s to be brought in; it was the best example of a gem-studded sword in the Geat treasury. Then he laid it on Beowulf’s lap and then rewarded him with land as well, seven thousand hides, and a hall and a throne.” (line 2191-2197)
Who is king after Hygelac? How does he die? “Hygelac fell… against the fierce aggression of the Shylfings….the wide kingdom reverted to Beowulf.” (line 2201-2208)
What large event happens fifty years into Beowulf’s reign? “a dragon on the prowl… the sleeping dragon; that drove him into rage,” (line 2212-2220)
Why did the slave steal from the dragon? “Slave fleeing the heavy hand of some master, guilt-ridden and on the run…” (line 2224-2225)
How did the dragon’s tower come to have so many riches? “…somebody now forgotten had buried the riches of a high-born race in this ancient cache.” (line 2234-2236)
Describe how the dragon discovered these riches “Then an old harrower of the dark happened to find the hoard open.” (line 2271-2272)
What does Beowulf think has brought on that wrath of the dragon? “…the wise man thought he must have thwarted ancient ordinances of the eternal lord, broken His commandment.” (line 2329-2331)
Describe the dragon’s hidden home “…an underground barrow near the sea-billows and heaving waves, heaped inside with exquisite metalwork.” (line 2411-2413)
Why does Beowulf again recount the glory of day’s past before taking on the battle with the dragon? “”His fate hovered near, unknowable but certain:… Before long the prince’s spirit would spin free from his body.” (line 2421-2424)
How does Beowulf feel about his upcoming battle against the dragon? ” I shall pursue this fight for the glory of winning, if the evil one will only abandon his earth-fort and face me in the open.” (line 2523-2525)
Why does Beowulf announce that he is going to face the dragon alone? “This fight is not yours, nor is it up to any man except me to measure his strength against the monster or to prove his worth. I shall win the gold by my courage, or else mortal combat, doom of battle, will bear your lord away.” (line 2532-2537)
What do Beowulf’s men do as he is taking on the dragon? “No helper or backing war to be had then from his high-born comrades; that hand-picked troop broke ranks and ran for their lives to the safety of the wood.” (line 2596-2599)
Identify WIglaf “But within one heart sorrow welled up: in a man of worth the claims of kinship cannot be denied. His name was Wiglaf, a son of Weohstan’s, a well-regarded Shylfing warrior related to Aelfhere.” (line 2599-2604)
What prior battle experience has Wiglaf experienced? None
Describe the effectiveness of Beowulf’s sword, Nagling “Struck hard at the enamel scales, but scarcely cut through… the blow was far less powerful… The glittering sword… failed when he unsheathed it… Naegling snapped. Beowulf’s ancient sword let him down.” (line 2578-2681)
Describe how Beowulf and Wiglaf join forces to slay the dragon They shared a sword and shield and when the dragon attacked Beowulf, Wiglaf attacked the dragon.
What is Beowulf’s dying wish? “I want to examine that ancient gold, gaze my fill on those garnered jewels; my going will be easier for having seen the treasure.” (line 2747-2750)
How does Beowulf react when he sees the treasure? “to the King of Glory, I give thanks that I behold this treasure here in front of me, that I have been allowed to leave my people so well endowed on the day I die.” (line 2805-2808)
What are his funeral instructions? “Order my troop to construct a barrow on a headland on the coast, after my pyre has cooled. It will loom on the horizon at Hronesness and be a reminder among my people- so that in coming times crews under sail will call it Beowulf’s Barrow…” (line 2802-2808)
After both Beowulf and the dragon are slain, how do Beowulf’s followers behave? What does Wiglaf say to them? “They were ashamed and came behind shields…They watched Wiglaf…’So it is goodbye now to all you know and love on your home ground, the open-handedness, the giving of war-swords. Every one of you with free holds of land, our whole nation will be dispossessed once princes from beyond get tidings of how you turned and fled and disgraced yourselves. A warrior will sooner die than live a life of shame.'” (line 2850-2891_)
According to the messenger who announces Beowulf’s death to his people, what might the Geats expect now from their enemies? -“Now war is looming over our nation, soon it will be known to Franks and Frisians, far and wide, that King is gone.” (line 2884-2891)
Wiglaf decrees that all treasure should be burned. Why? “Now shall flame consume our leader in battle, the blaze darken round him who stood his ground in the steel-hail, when the arrow storm… pelted the shield wall.” (line 3114-3119)Also cuz greed and desire
What role does fate play in Beowulf’s demise? “Nothing we advised could ever convince the prince we loved, our land’s guardian, not to vex the custodian of gold… He held to his high destiny.” (3079-3084)
What do Geats do with the dragon’s body? “They pitched the dragon over the clifftop.” (line 3131-3132)
Describe Beowulf’s funeral pyre “It stood four-square, hung with helmets, heavy war-shields and shining armor… the hugest of funeral fires.” (line 3137-3148)
What is the role of the twelve horsemen who surround Beowulf’s monument? “Chieftain’s sons, champions in battle, all of them distraught, chanting in dirges, mourning his loss as a man and a king. They extolled his heroic nature and exploits and gave thanks for his greatness.” (line 3169-3174)12 warriors allude to 12 disciples
Ensconced The building was magnificent, the king majestic, _________ in his hall.
Maw A comrade from our ranks had come to grief in Grendel’s __________
Gorget I heard he present Hygd with a __________, the priceless torque
Barrow A newly constructed ____________ stood waiting, on a wide headland close to the waves
Gloaming The hoard-watcher, waited for the ________ with fierce impatience
Virulent bore the bruntof his brutal assaults and ___________hate
Prodigious But Beowulf’s _____________ gifts as a swimmer
Reconnoiter The lord of the Geats took eleven comrades and went in a rage to _______________
Coffered His fate hovered near, unknowable, but certain: it would soon claim his ___________ soul
Ward While I was his ________, he treated me no worse
Bereft The banquet hall ___________ of all delight
Suppurate Beowulf discovered deadly poison ____________ inside him
Foment Stood by things in my keeping, never _____________ quarrels, never swore a lie
Furl Life will go up with a flame, be ____________ in fire
Transgression guilty of wrong and grimly punished for their _______________
Bier let a ______________ be made and got ready quickly
Litany her worst fears, a wild __________ of nightmare and lament

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