Dear Mythology Kids,
Today in class, we reviewed the final section of BEOWULF, and then I reviewed the take-home questions for your quiz. The questions are located below. We then started our discussion regarding Norse death customs. Each student received a handout and we viewed several images via a power point.
1. One important poetic device in Old English is the "kenning," a compound word in which one thing is described by a fanciful two-word metaphor. For example, the sea is described as a "whale-road,” Hrothgar is described as a "ring-giver,” and a murderer is described as a "corpse-maker.” What effect do these kennings have on you as a reader? How do they add to the poetic atmosphere of the epic? Locate additional kennings, besides those that we identify together and to those indicated above, and indicate the importance of your chosen kennings.
2. As discussed in class, Fate plays a significant role in Norse myths. How much control do the characters in Beowulf have over their fates? Are skilled warriors any more likely to succeed than cowards? Include textual evidence from the poem to support your response.
3. Beowulf represents the successful blending of pagan and Christian elements. These elements are incorporated side-by-side in the epic. Describe and explain the placement of these elements including readers’ acceptance of both. Support your response with textual evidence.
4. In Beowulf, the distribution of wealth is an essential part of the social structure. How important is wealth in Beowulf, and how does it relate to other Norse myths we have discussed. Support your response with textual evidence.
5. According to the archetypal heroic pattern, is Beowulf a “true” hero? Review the nine traits and indicate if Beowulf’s character follows the archetype. Is Beowulf an ideal hero and king? Is there anything lacking in his character? Support your response with textual evidence. In addition, why is the concept of fame and glory so significant to the Norse warrior? Support your response with textual evidence.