Questions for Discussion
Please read Chapters 1 through 13 and answer the following questions for discussion. This will not be submitted or graded but it is important that you do the reading and be ready to discuss the questions. (Consider typing your notes directly on this document.) Be ready to discuss:
Section 6: Thursday, 9/18
Sections 4 and 5: Friday, 9/19
In this chapter we meet Grendel, the first of the monsters in Beowulf. He has a connection to the Biblical Cain: who is Cain? Describe the connection between the two. Cain murdered his brother Abel in the bible. Grendel is a descendant of Cain who was evil as well, and made his home a hell on earth. Chapter Two:
How long does Herot stay empty after Grendel’s first attack? What does this suggest to you about King Hrothgar and his men? Herot stayed empty for 12 winters after Grendel's first attack. This shows that King Hrothgar and his men were very sentimental about the deaths of their fellow men. Read lines 175 to the end of this chapter very carefully. Explain how these lines demonstrate the religious changes going on in England in the Anglo-Saxon period. It sounds like Catholicism is replacing a polytheistic religion. Chapter Three:
What is Beowulf’s reputation in the world?
Beowulf's reputation is that he is stronger than anyone in the world and the greatest of all Geats. Based on this chapter alone, what is Beowulf’s reason for sailing to Hrothgar’s kingdom? What does this suggest to you about Beowulf’s character? Beowulf's reason was to go and help the famous king. This shows that he is brave and has a good heart. Chapter 4:
At first, the Danish guard (in Chapter 3) is not very welcoming to Beowulf and his men but his attitude soon changes. What qualities does Beowulf demonstrate in his speech which changes the guard’s mind? Beowulf shows that him and his men are seeking the prince. He also tells the Danish guard that his father Edgetho, was a famous soldier. Chapter 6:
Beowulf’s speech to Hrothgar (lines 407 to end of chapter) is famously referred to as the “Beowulf boast.” Based on what you know about this character, does this speech strike you as arrogant? Why or why not? I find it arrogant because he is praising himself and making himself seem tough by saying how he killed his enemies. How does Beowulf intend to battle with Grendel?
He intends to battle him with blood, flesh and bone which I imagine will lead to a death. Chapters 8 and 9:
The author lets us know early in chapter 8 that Unferth is a jealous man. How do we know this? We know this because he criticizes Beowulf and mocks his accomplishments.Chapter 12: Why are the weapons of Beowulf’s men powerless against Grendel? All of the men's weapons had been bewitched.
In what dramatic way does Beowulf display his victory over the monster? Beowulf hung the monsters body after he killed it.
Why do you think the narrator inserts a brief digression about the great Norse hero Siegmund at this point in the poem? Because Siegmund is similar to Beowulf in the sense that he is very powerful and destroys his enemies.