Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beowulf (Finally!)

Ugh I know this is late, but here it is. Thank you Sarah Gutierrez (here's her blog, which anybody reading this should go to because she is a much better writer/student than I am) being so generous with her answers. Just to be clear, I copied this off her blog with her permission. She has really been helpful in helping me catch up with the rest of the class. I'm not yet there, but I really am trying to work on that without getting much farther behind. [Prologue: The Rise of the Danish Nation] (lines 1-85, pp. 33-34)

1.Realize that this prologue introduces the Danes, not Beowulf or his people the Geats. What was unusual about the way Shield came to be ruler of the Danes? What was his funeral like? What relation is Hrothgar to Shield? 
It was unusual for Shield to become king of the Danes because he was an orphan. He came as a child from the sea alone and in rags; his funeral was held at sea on a boat of his own where he was adorned with treasure and loved by all his people. Shield was the  great-great grandpa of Hrothgar.

[Heorot is Attacked] (lines 86-188, pp. 34-36)

1.What magnificent work did Hrothgar undertake? Who attacked it, and with what result? How long did the attacks last? What was the response of the Danes?
Hrothgar built a mead hall for drinking and dancing. It was attacked by a giant named Grendel who terrorized the people in the hall. After the second night of Grendel’s rampage, no more soldiers were found sleeping inside the hall. Greatly afeared were them who had survived the 1st 2 attacks. 12 years passed and poets wrote sad songs 
of the kings desperation. Everyone wept and called on the Devil for help.

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

What does Beowulf do when he hears of Hrothgar's problems with Grendel?
Beowulf assembles 14 of the bravest warriors Geatland has to offer and sails to Herot.

Whom do the Geats first meet when they arrive in Denmark? What does he do, and what do they do?
Hrothgar’s sea-guard sees them and meets them with his spear. He asks why they come ready for war. He demands to hear their lineage so as to know they are friends. Beowulf tells him and then goes on to say that he comes in peace to help slay Grendel.

They next meet Hrothgar's herald. Who is he? What does he tell them? What does he tell Hrothgar? What does Hrothgar respond? Are you surprised that Hrothgar knows Beowulf so well?
Wulfgar, a messenger and officer to Hrothgar who asks them their business, but then guesses they are set on adventure. He then goes to Hrothgar and tells him not to turn the Geats away, for they look strong and worthy of a warrior’s esteem. Hrothgar says he knew Beowulf as a child and is overjoyed that the Geat warriors have come to his aid. I’m not surprised he knows Beowulf because if you were of any notability in that time, then people would talk about you and your name would be all over the place. Also, Hrothgar had helped Beowulf’s father settle a feud.

4.What does Beowulf tell Hrothgar when he enters? What did Hrothgar do for Beowulf's father? 
Beowulf says that he has heard of what has happened to his hall. He talks about all his accomplishments and then goes on to say that he will fight Grendel with his bare hands or be ever ashamed he did not, for the beast fights with no weapon but himself. If Grendel wins Beowulf says to not give him a funeral, but bring his armor back to Geatland. Hrothgar help his father settle a feud.

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

What does Unferth accuse Beowulf of? How does Beowulf answer him? How is this episode relevant to the poem as a whole? What does Beowulf accuse Unferth of?
Since he lost the swimming race with Brecca, Unferth thinks that Beowulf won’t be able to defeat Grendel. Beowulf acknowledges his defeat, but goes on to say he was harried by 9 sea monsters, all of which he slayed. He asks if Unferth has done anything like that and mocks his cowardice by saying,
“I say to you truly,
son of Ecglaf, that wretch
Grendel would never have done
such horrors, such humiliations
on you chief, if you were so
fierce as you suppose.”
Beowulf then goes on to accuse Unferth of killing his own brother. This shows that Beowulf will not stand any opposition to his honor or his courage.

What is Queen Wealhtheow doing during the feasting?
She is greeting the Geats and passing around a cup full of bear. She then gives it to Beowulf and thanks him for coming.

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

1.Heroic poetry normally has a scene in which the hero arms for battle. What is different about Beowulf's preparations for his fight with Grendel?
He takes OFF his armor to meet Grendel just as a man.

2.What happens when Grendel enters Heorot? How does Beowulf fight with him? What happens when Grendel tries to leave? Does Grendel escape? What does he leave behind?
He easily breaks through the door to the hall. He immediately ate a man and then went for Beowulf who then grabbed his arm. Grendel had never known a man to have as much strength as Beowulf and he became afraid. Beowulf breaks all the bones in Grendel’s fingers and when he tries to flee Beowulf pulls his arm off. He escapes mortally wounded back to his marsh land.

[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.)
Sigemund was great king who slew a dragon and gained all its treasure, like Beowulf they had both slain impossible foes (also, Beowulf slays a dragon and gains all its richest, but that’s for later) Beowulf is not like Heremod because he doesn’t turn against his own people.

2.How does Hrothgar respond to Beowulf's deed? What does he offer to do for him? What does Unferth have to say now?
Hrothgar and all his people go to the mead hall to celebrate. People sing songs and Hrothgar asks Beowulf to be his son. He also give him a bunch of armor and some horses. Unferth? What does he have to say now? Nothing.

3.The singer sings of Finn during the feasting (lines 1070-1158). The exact details of the Finn story are not clear, but in general, what happens? What does it suggest about the wisdom of using a woman as bride to heal enmity between tribes?
Finn defeats the Danes and is give a Danish wife named Hildeburh, but then they over take him later on. It shows that marrying a princess promotes peace, however it doesn’t always work out that way.

4.When the feasting resumes, what does Wealhtheow ask Hrothgar not to 
5.Wealhtheow gives Beowulf a large, broad necklace. What later happens to it? What does Wealhtheow ask Beowulf to do?
Beowulf gives it the Hygd the Geat queen and she asks him not the try and take Hrothgar’s kingdom when he dies.

6.Why do so many men remain in the beer hall to sleep? Why is it a mistake?
They are drunk and it is a mistake because Grendel’s mother Hulk Smashes the gohrammin’ building.

BEOWULF AND GRENDEL'S MOTHER (lines 1251-2199, pp. 60-79) 
[Another Attack] (lines 1251-1382, pp. 60-62)

1.Why has Grendel's mother come to Heorot? Is it the same reason Grendel had?
She is upset that they killed her son and wants revenge.

2.What is Hrothgar's response? Whom has Grendel's mother killed?
3.What sort of place is the mere?
Aeschere was killed and Hrothgar is very sorrowful. Her mere is an inlet of the sea full of bones and rotting flesh. The place is magical The water burns and the bottom of the mere, has never been reached.
[Beowulf Fights Grendel's Mother] (lines 1383-1650, pp. 63-68)

1.) How does Beowulf tell Hrothgar to respond?
??? Doesn’t Hrothgar tell Beowulf to seek out Grendel’s mother and slay her.

2.What happens at the mere before Beowulf enters it?
He tells his men to stay behind and Unferth bequeathes a magic sword to Beowulf. 

3.How does Beowulf prepare for the battle? What sword does he take with him?
He takes Hrunting a magical sword that has never failed in battle

4.What happens when Beowulf enters the mere? What is surprising about where Grendel and his mother live in the mere?
He has to fight off sea monsters and then Grendel’s Mum seizes him and starts throwing him about. His magic sword doesn’t work, but there is a sword in the mere that was forged by giants and that does. He slices her neck and she dies. He then notices Grendel’s corpse and he decapitates it out of rage, but when he does that the giant sword begins to melt! When he swims back up with Grendel’s head, he notices that all of the sea monsters are gone.

5.What happens when Beowulf returns to the surface? Did his men expect him to return? 
When he got to the surface his men were waiting for him and they receive him with joyous hearts.

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

1.What does Beowulf give to Hrothgar?
He gives him Grendel’s head and the sword hilt.

2.What message does Hrothgar have for Beowulf? What and why does he tell us about Heremod? Why and how did Heremod die? What lesson does Hrothgar teach with the Heremod example?
Hrothgar contrasts beowulf with Heremod who betrayed his people. He doesn’t want Beowulf to be a bad king and tells him not to get wrapped up in earthly things. Hrothgar is basically telling Beowulf to be a just and wise king.

3.What does Beowulf give to Unferth as he leaves?
Beowulf gives him back his magical sword.

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

1.What future does Hrothgar predict for Beowulf?
A good and noble future for a good and noble king

2.Who is Hygd and why is she not like Modthryth?
Hygelac’s wife and queen of the Geats she is kind and gentle, unlike Modthryth.

3.Beowulf reports to Hygelac that Hrothgar may marry his daughter Freawaru to Ingeld. Why does he plan to do that? What does Beowulf expect the result will be? (Remember the Finn story, lines 1070-1158.) How does Beowulf think the peace will be broken? Is this the type of report we expected from the hero Beowulf, or are we seeing a new side of him?

Hrothgar may predict peace, but Beowulf thinks that old feuds will resurface and cause more wars. This kind of came out of the blue, really. He comes home from a great adventure and oh! This marriage... not such a god idea. I suppose it shows his concerns with matters of state.

4.How does Beowulf report about his own adventures? Does he report accurately?
Yes, he does.

5.What does Beowulf do with the treasure he was given? What does Hygelac give him?
He gives all of it to the king and queen. The king then gives him treasure and land to rule over.

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

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

1.How much later does Part 2 take place? What kings have died in the meanwhile? What danger now exists?
50 years has past. Hygelac died and so did his son, leaving Beowulf to ascend the throne. A Dragon is going on fiery rampages through out the city.

2.Why is the dragon angry? Why did the man take a cup? How did the treasure come to be there in the first place? 
A run-away slave stole his goblet which came into the Dragon’s possession because a dead thing of another race left it there when it died. The Dragon found it and claimed it as it’s own.

3.What did the dragon destroy that evening?
Beowulf’s palace

4.Why does Beowulf think his home was burnt? Why does he order a new shield? How will he fight this battle? What will happen to him?
He thinks he did something to make God angry. The sheild is to protect him from fire. He will only fight with 11 men, not an army

5.How did Hygelac die? What did Beowulf do after Hygelac's death? What happened when he returned home? Did he accept Hygd's offer to become king?
He was killed in battle and Hydg asked Beowulf to be king because her son was too young. Beowulf refused, but vowed to protect the boy. However, he soon dies and Beiwulf then, becomes king.

6. What happened to Hygelac's son Heardred? (That's the story in lines 2380-2390.) How did Beowulf plan to revenge Heardred's death (lines 2391-2396)?
7.How many men accompany Beowulf as he goes to meet the dragon?

8.What happened to Hygelac's oldest brother Herebeald? Who killed him? What did this do to his father King Hrethel? What happened between the Swedes and Geats after Hrethel's death? What happened to Haethcyn? 
He was killed accidentally by his brother Haethcyn. The king then retreated from public life and eventually died. After he died feuds still went on. Later Haethcyn died in battle.

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

1.What does Beowulf tell his companions to do?
He tells them to wait outside for him. Isn’t it always the way?

2.What happens the first time Beowulf and the dragon fight? What do his companions do? How is Wiglaf different? What does he tell the others? What does he then do?
Beowulf calls the dragon out to fight and they wrestle, Beowulf’s sword doesn’t do much to help him. His fighters flee, but not WIGLAF (:D) He scorns the cowards and then rushes in to help Beowulf.

3.What happens the second time Beowulf meets the dragon? What happens to Beowulf? Who kills the dragon?
He stabs it in the flank, a fatal blow, but he soon realizes that the dragon has bit him and has poisoned him.

4.What does the dying Beowulf ask Wiglaf to do? What happens when Beowulf sees the gold? How does Beowulf want to be buried?
He tells him to bring to him some of the treasure. He thanks God that he was able to liberate the gold and jems. Beowulf wants a barrow built in his honor.

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

1.What happens when the companions return? What does Wiglaf say to him? What does he expect will happen in the future?
they are ashamed and Wilgaf scorns them again. He predict that more wars will break out between the Geats and the Franks now that their fiercsome leader is dead.

2.What does the messenger tell the city? (This passage, lines 2900-3027, is the third account of the history of the Geats and the death of Hygelac. These are the enemies that will attack the Geats when they learn of Beowulf's death
.) What happened overnight in Ravenswood after Ongentheow killed Haethcyn? What happened the next morning? What happened to Ongentheow? What does the messenger say to do with the gold? What is the final image (animal) of the messenger's speech?
3. What does Wiglaf tell the crowd that comes to see the dragon and Beowulf?
he tells them to build the barrow Beowulf asked for.

4.What happens to the dragon?
It gets tossed into the ocean.

5.What happens during and after the funeral celebration?
Everyone pays their respects and a wall is built around beowulf’s spire. They also put his treasure with him.

6.What did the Geats say about Beowulf in the last three lines of the poem? Are these the terms one would expect to be used to describe a military hero?
Beowulf was the mildest, the most loved, the most kind to his own, and most worthy of praise. And no, it isn’t expected these days, but back then, this is what it meant to be a hero.

No comments:

Post a Comment