Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beowulf Questions

[Prologue: The Rise of the Danish Nation] (lines 1-85, pp. 33-34)

1 Shield was an orphan, but through being a good man and heroism he rose to be the king. Hrothgar is the descendent of Shield. His funeral involved sending him off with treasures, just like Beowulf’s.
[Heorot is Attacked] (lines 86-188, pp. 34-36)

1.  He built a great hall named Heorot, and it was attacked by a demon named Grendel. Grendel would sneak in at night and kill the men who had been partying in the hall. The Danes prayed to God and to pagan deities but nothing changed, that is until Beowulf came along.

[The Hero Comes to Heorot] (lines 189-490, pp. 36-42)

1. He makes the decision to go and fight using only the 14 of the finest men.
2. They meet a guard, who stopped them at first but then let them by. This was very unrealistic for the time period.
3. The Harold’s name is Hrothgar, and supposedly he’s very wise. He trusts them, which again shouldn’t have happened. Hrothgar’s knowledge of Beowulf’s life isn’t surprising, because it’s been implied previously in the text that their families have had a relationship.
4. Beowulf tells Hrothgar about all the noble feats he has done. Hrothgar has made an alliance with Beowulf’s father, so he lets him pass.

[Feast at Heorot] (lines 491-661, pp. 42-46)

1. Basically, what happened was Unferth was insecure about his own helplessness against Grendel so he started talking smack about Beowulf. Beowulf confidently explained how the smack he was talking about was untrue, and the story he told made him seem like even more of a hero. This helped set up Beowulf as a character for the rest of the poem. He is very arrogant.
2. The Queen was praying for their victory, and Beowulf responds arrogantly that he will succeed with or without their help.

[The Fight with Grendel] (lines 662-835, pp. 46-49)

1. Beowulf, cocky as he is, decides to lay down his weapons and fight the demon unarmed, the way that the demon will be fighting him.
2. Beowulf waits for Grendel to approach him, and then wrestles him. Grendel ends up getting away, but not without getting his arm ripped off.

[Celebration at Heorot] (lines 836-1250, pp. 49-60)

1.When the Danes and Geats return from following Grendel's tracks to the mere, someone sings in Beowulf's presence, comparing him to Sigemund and saying that he was not like Heremod (lines 883-914). How is Beowulf like Sigemund? How is he not like Heremod? (Be alert for inserted stories such as this one. Beowulf contains many of them, most much more complex that this one.)
2. Hrothgar praises him and offers to make him an adopted son.
3.  In general, what happens is that the Finns and the Danes have enmity towards each other, and they battle. The Finnish king is married to a Danish woman, and kills her family. In the end, she ends up being able to be returned to her family once her husband has been killed.
4. She wants her children to be treated kindly after his death.
5. She asks him to be friends with her children.
6.They were drunk, so they probably just felt inclined to sleep there. It was a mistake because soon, Grendel’s mother would come upon the hall and they were not prepared for that.

BEOWULF AND GRENDEL'S MOTHER (lines 1251-2199, pp. 60-79)

[Another Attack] (lines 1251-1382, pp. 60-62)

1. Grendel’s mother was grieving because Grendel died, and came back seeking revenge upon the first sleeping man she saw, and carried him away.
2.Hrothgar’s response was to be distraught because the person Grendel’s mother killed was his trusted adviser. He commissions Beowulf on another quest.
3. Mere is a dark, mysterious, magical swamp. No one knows how deep it is, and most natural beings seem to fear it.

[Beowulf Fights Grendel's Mother] (lines 1383-1650, pp. 63-68)

1. Beowulf assures Hrothgar to trust him because he will not let Grendel’s mother escape this time.
2.  The counselor was decapitated before they could reach the mere.
3. Beowulf prepares this time by arming himself. Unferth lends him the sword named Hrunting, which legend says has never once failed in a battle.
4. Beowulf tells Hrothgar to take care of his people if he does not make it back. The demons live on the bottom of the swamp, which no one had reached before.
5.  It is unable to pierce her skin.
6. The armor he put on had protected him, and he was able to fend off what he could using Hrunting.
7. Beowulf gets a weapon that she had on her wall that was forged by giants. It was able to kill her. When she is killed, the room becomes lighter and Beowulf can see Grendel’s corpse. He brings up his head, as well as the handle of the sword he used to kill Grendel’s mother since the rest of it had melted.
8. Most of Beowulf’s men had not expected his return so they sulked back into the town. But when they saw he was alright, they praised him and celebrated even more.

[Further Celebration at Heorot] (lines 1651-1798, pp. 68-71)

1. He gives him the head of Grendel impaled on two spears.

[Beowulf Returns Home] (lines 1799-2199, pp. 71-79)

1. Hrothgar predicts a bright and good future for Beowulf full of success because of his fearlessness and honor.
2. Hygd is a brave and beautiful young queen. Modthryth was also a queen, but she was wicked and cruel.
3. He seems to think that this marriage will only further the war. This is definitely a more manipulative and political side to Beowulf than we’ve seen thus far.
4.He reports it accurately with an emphasis on how terrifying the monsters were and how great the spoils were, which says a lot about where his mind is when he is performing these feats.
5. Hygelac gives him some land to rule over, and eventually he becomes king.

BEOWULF AND THE DRAGON (lines 2200-3182, pp. 79-99)

[The Dragon Wakes] (lines 2200-2509, pp. 79-86)

1. It takes place at least two decades later. Hygelac has died, and left Beowulf as king. Now, a dragon is plaguing the Geats.
2.The dragon is angry because a thief stole a goblet from the treasure trove the dragon was guarding. The treasure got there because an ancient race that was doomed to perish began to bury their treasures there, and the dragon found it.
3. Besides incinerating an entire country side, Beowulf’s throne room was also extra crispified.
4. Beowulf assumed he was receiving punishment from the gods. He orders a new, fire proof shield and plans on fighting the dragon alone.
5. There was a battle in which Hygelac died, but Beowulf was able to survive. Instead of becoming a king then and there, he acted as a protector to Hygd’s son. He then avenged Hygelac’s death.
6. He is killed in a battle with the Swedes. Beowulf then ascends to the throne and resolves conflict with the Swedes.
7. Beowulf takes 11 men to go fight the dragon.
8. There was a fight between two brothers in which one was accidentally killed, and this is what Beowulf relates to the war with the Swedes.

[Beowulf Attacks the Dragon] (lines 2510-2820, pp. 86-92)

2. When Beowulf fights the dragon, all of the 11 men leave him, much like they did when he fought Grendel’s mother. Wiglaf stays behind and fights beside him loyally.
3. The second time, Beowulf receives a fatal wound and Wiglaf ends up killing the dragon.
4. Beowulf wants to see the treasure before he dies. When he sees it, the thanks the gods. He wants to be made a barrow for which to be buried in.

[Beowulf's Funeral] (lines 2821-3182, pp. 92-99)

1. When Beowulfs companions return, they are ashamed because Beowulf has died. Wiglaf shames them, and expects foreign warlords to attack now that Beowulf is not around to protect them.
3. Wiglaf tells the crowd that the only way the hoard can be opened is by the will of god.
4.The dragon lies dead in the hoard, unable to be opened.
5. They burn the body, and put it on the hill for everyone to see. The death of their king is greatly mourned by the Geats.
6. They said he had the greediest spirit, and now he has been burned. This seems odd coming from a culture who revered him so much, but we all know how much the treasure and glory meant to him.

No comments:

Post a Comment