Important Namesconsiderations

Important Namesconsiderations




BeowulfWiglaf*Good vs. Evil

ShildUnferth*Epic and the epic hero

HealfdaneEdgetho*Christian and Pagan references

HerotWelthow*Literary elements (kennings,

HiglacHigdalliteration, assonance, caesura);

HruntingDanesthe oral tradition

GrendelGeats*Warfare culture


OngenthoGrendel’s mother




  1. Who was Shild?
  2. Who was his son?
  3. What kind of king was Shild?
  4. How was Shild buried?

Part 1

  1. Who was Healfdane?
  2. Who were Healfdane’s four children?
  3. What was Hrothgar’s meadhall called?
  4. Where did Grendel come from?

Part 2

  1. What does Grendel do the first time he goes to Herot?
  2. How long does Grendel ravage the Danes?
  3. Why do the Danes sacrifice to the old stone gods?

Part 3

  1. Who is Beowulf’s king?
  2. Where does Beowulf come from?
  3. How many men does Beowulf take with him to Denmark?
  4. Describe the coast guard’s welcome to Beowulf and his men.

Part 4

  1. Who is Beowulf’s father?
  2. What does Beowulf give as his reason for coming to Denmark?
  3. What does the guard do then?

Part 5

  1. Who next greets Beowulf and takes his message to Hrothgar?
  2. What is it about Beowulf and company that impresses this man?

Part 6

  1. How does Hrothgar react to the news of Beowulf’s arrival?
  2. What two stories does Beowulf tell Hrothgar to prove he can fight Grendel?
  3. How does Beowulf plan to fight Grendel?

Part 7

  1. How did Hrothgar help Beowulf’s father?
  2. How do the Danes and the Geats spend the rest of the evening?

Part 8

  1. Why does Unferth challenge Beowulf?
  2. What does Unferth say?
  3. How does Beowulf answer him?

Part 9

  1. Why had Beowulf “lost” the swimming match with Brecca?
  2. How does Beowulf humble Unferth?
  3. Who is Welthow? How does she treat the visitor?
  4. What promise does Hrothgar make Beowulf?

Part 10

  1. How does Beowulf await the monster?

Part 11

  1. How does the poet build suspense at the beginning of Part 11?
  2. What happens first when Grendel reaches Herot?
  3. Describe the battle between Beowulf and Grendel.

Part 12

  1. Why can’t Beowulf’s men harm Grendel?
  2. How does Beowulf actually win the fight?
  3. Where does Grendel run after the fight?
  4. What “trophy” does Beowulf hang in Herot?

Part 13

  1. To what old adventures is Beowulf’s achievement compared?

Part 14

  1. What does Beowulf say in his speech to Hrothgar? Is he modest about his victory?
  2. Why does Unferth now give up his quarrel with Beowulf?

Part 15

  1. What treasures does Hrothgar give Beowulf?

Part 16-17

  1. What does Hrothgar give to Beowulf’s men?
  2. How does wergild come into play here?
  3. Summarize the story of the feud between Hengest and Finn.

Part 18

  1. What does Welthow give Beowulf?
  2. What favor does Welthow ask Beowulf when she gives him her gifts?
  3. What foreshadowing at the end of this part indicates trouble ahead?

Part 19

  1. Why does Grendel’s mother come to Herot?
  2. Who and what does she carry off?
  3. Why doesn’t Beowulf stop her?

Part 20

  1. Summarize Hrothgar’s description of Grendel’s lair.

Part 21

  1. What do the men discover at the edge of Grendel’s lake?
  2. What do they see in the water?
  3. How is Beowulf equipped for battle?

Part 22

  1. What are Beowulf’s parting words?
  2. How does Beowulf get to Grendel’s mother’s lair?
  3. Why does Beowulf toss Hrunting aside?
  4. How does Grendel’s mother almost win?

Part 23

  1. What does Beowulf use to kill Grendel’s mother?
  2. Meanwhile, what are the Danes and the Geats doing?
  3. What happens to the sword?
  4. What does Beowulf bring back from the lake?
  5. How does the lake change?

Part 24-25

  1. To whom does Beowulf give the giant’s sword?
  2. What is depicted on the handle?
  3. What does Hrothgar warn Beowulf about? What is his “message” to the victorious Beowulf?

Part 26

  1. What promise does Beowulf make in his farewell speech?
  2. How does Hrothgar say goodbye to Beowulf?

Part 27

  1. Who is Higlac’s queen?
  2. To whom is Higlac’s queen compared? What seems to be the “moral” of this story?

Part 28-31

  1. What does Beowulf tell Higlac about Freaw?
  2. What does Beowulf give Higlac’s queen?
  3. What are the “rules of conduct” for warriors that are mentioned here?
  4. What does Higlac give Beowulf?
  5. When does Beowulf become king of the Geats?
  6. How long does he rule?
  7. What new monster must Beowulf deal with?

Part 32

  1. What is the story of the dragon’s treasure?
  2. What roused the dragon from his sleep?

Part 33-34

  1. What does the dragon do in revenge?
  2. What were some of Beowulf’s adventures since he returned to Geatland?
  3. What are the details of Beowulf’s early life?

Part 35

  1. Who is the “he” in the first line? What story is Beowulf telling here?
  2. What is Beowulf’s final boast?
  3. How will he fight the dragon?
  4. How does Beowulf approach the dragon?
  5. What happens to Beowulf’s shield? Sword?

Part 36

  1. Who is the only one of Beowulf’s men who stays?
  2. What does he say to the other men?
  3. What happens when Wiglaf attacks the dragon?
  4. How is Beowulf wounded?

Part 37

  1. How does Wiglaf wound the dragon? What does Beowulf do?
  2. Why is Beowulf’s wound so bad?
  3. What does Wiglaf do for Beowulf?
  4. What does Beowulf ask Wiglaf to do?

Part 38

  1. What is Beowulf’s final wish?

Part 39

  1. What does Wiglaf say to the other men?

Part 40

  1. What does the herald tell the people? What will happen now that Beowulf is dead?

Part 41

  1. Describe the battle between Ongentho and Higlac.
  2. Why will they burn the treasure?

Part 42-43

  1. Describe the funeral of Beowulf.
  2. Describe Beowulf’s tower.