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. Please select two of the following questions
for your "Beowulf" take-home quiz. Please complete your questions using
MLA format and Academic Voice. If you would like to receive
extra-credit then you can respond to more than two questions.
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
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
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.
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.
If you missed class today, your "Final Exam" was introduced to you. I have included a copy of the explanation for it below.
FINAL EXAM DUE DATE: TUES. May 22nd for B1 and B2 FINAL EXAM DUE DATE: THURS. May 24th for B4
Final Exam ExplanationMythology
Mrs. Kori Crampton
Due Date __________________
Consider the following questions? What have you learned this year? How has your study of Mythology heightened your understanding of popular culture, literature and the world around you? Explanation: As discussed on numerous
occasions, mythological allusions and references are frequently found
in modern culture. Through a knowledge of mythology, one’s
understanding of literary work and popular culture increases.
You are required to select five of the ten options listed below to
illustrate your understanding of mythology. You may use examples
connected with either Greek or Norse Mythology.
1.Advertisement using mythological reference and/or allusions.
2.Album covers using mythological references and/or allusions.
3.Book title using mythological references and/or allusions.
4.Vocabulary word used in literary work.
5. Reference or allusion within a literary work.
6. Comic strip/cartoon using mythological references and/or allusions.
7. Company names or insignias using mythological references and/or allusions.
8. Norse motifs found in other literary work. This option is compulsory!
9. Artwork with mythological references and/or allusions.
10. Errors pertaining to any mythological character/concept found in advertising literary work.
The following requirements are compulsory:
1. A hard copy of each example (photo copies will suffice if your example is found in a book).
2. The Internet may not be used to locate your examples.
3. For each example provided, an explanation must also be included as
to why the mythological reference/allusion is an appropriate choice.
What is the point of using mythology in advertising? For the book
4. The explanations need to accompany the hard copy of your examples. I
expect them to be 10-20 sentences in length. Assume your audience has
no schema regarding the mythology used in the selected examples;
therefore, your explanations need to be thorough.
5. You may not repeat mythological references and/or allusions. So, if
you locate an allusion to Pandora in a cartoon, then you can’t include
an example regarding Pandora for another option.
6. You may not use examples shared with you in class (ie. “Apollo Burger”, “Midas Mufler”, “Nike”, “Ajax Cleaner”)
7. Your exam needs to be submitted in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Each example should be mounted on a piece of cardstock with the
corresponding explanation on the opposite page. Page protectors are
appreciated, but not compulsory. I would suggest a three ring binder
purely for organizational purposes!
8. A title page needs to be included with the following information.
List of options you selected for your final exam.
I have several examples that I shared with those that were present
on Monday. Unfortunately, I can't use the images here, because they
are from a power point. I am happy to share the examples with you when
Our introduction to the epic poem Beowulf took place on Thursday, May 5th.
Each student received a handout detailing the poem. I have included a
copy of it below, but the format is different from the one given in
class. Please read the information below so that when you return to
class on Tuesday, you will have some schema for the poem.
1936, J.R.R. Tolkien delivered a lecture before members of the British
Academy entitled “Beowulf: The Monsters and critics.” Tolkien remarked,
“Beowulf is in fact so interesting as poetry, that it overshadows other
pieces of the same period. It is the greatest achievement of Old
The Beowulf manuscript, written about 1000 A.D., was preserved in
ways unknown. It is one of few Anglo-Saxon pieces of literature to
survive Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries and their
magnificent libraries in the late 1530’s.
Once Henry separated himself from the Catholic Church, most references
to Catholicism, including written texts, were destroyed due to Henry
claiming they were “pagan” in origin. The manuscripts housed in the
monasteries were then ripped apart and used to polish candlesticks,
clean boots and furniture, some were sold as scrap paper to grocers and
soap makers; some were sent to bookbinders, who cut them into strips
and used them to form the book covers of other books. Somehow, a single
manuscript managed to survive this travesty. Yes, the epic poem known
as Beowulf. However, the current manuscript is not the original, but a
copy, in two distinct hand writings.
How many other copies existed, or how close to the original this
particular version actually is, we will never know. This copy survived a
fire in 1731; however, the top and outer edges of the manuscript were
damaged. Fortunately, due to ultra-violet photography, the chard
sections, that were once gaps, have now been translated. The poem still
bears the scars of the fire. The Beowulf poem is significant because it
is a miraculous survivor of the ravages of history. It is now housed
in the British Library London, England. I am sure that you will enjoy
Beowulf is an epic poem, a work of fiction, centered on the main
character, Beowulf, and his fight with three monsters. Beowulf blends a
fairytale type of narrative, where monsters are defeated with the hero
receiving honor and fame. The always relevant theme of “Good vs. Evil”
is significant to this piece of literature. The battle between Grendle, Grendle’s
mother, and the Dragon illustrate a society that valued war and
aristocracy. Layers of morality, tenderness, and piety are intermixed in
Beowulf, with the glorification of war, death, and fame. The Beowulf
poet captures battle scenes with magnificent skill and vividness in this
poem about kings and kingship.
“…He ruled Land on all sides: where ever the sea would take them, his
soldiers sailed, returned with tribute and obedience. There was a brace
“Then the monster charged again, omitting fire, wild with pain, rushed
out fierce and dreadful, its fear forgotten watching for its chance it
drove its tusks into Beowulf’s neck; he staggered, the blood came
flooding forth, fell like the rain.” (2688-2693)
“… No female, no matter how fierce, could have come with a man’s
strength, fought with power and courage men fight with. Smashing their
shining swords, their bloody, hammer-forged blades onto boar-headed
helmets, slashing and stabbing with the sharpest points.” (1282-1287)
The significance of battle against supernatural forces is what moves
the poet, in addition to the hero’s driving force for glory. The strong
fighter, the hero, the man who wins that most precious of all
treasures, fame, is the man who never gives up, and who does not worry
about the possible consequences of bravery.
“… so fame Comes to the men who means to win it, and care about nothing else.”
“… I am old now, But I will fight again, seek fame still…” (2512-2513)
“…But the brave old Swede felt no fear; he quickly returned a better
blow than he’d gotten, and struck the beast savagely again…”
Saw that his strength was deserting him, his claws bound fast, Beowulf
tearing at his claws. The monster’s hatred rose higher, but power had
gone. He twisted in pain…”
Beowulf is a Swedish Geat (Nordic tribe in Sweden), who comes to aid the Danes (Nordic tribe in Denmark) to defeat Grendle, a monster who has terrorized them for years. When Grendle’s
mother appears, hungry for revenge due to the killing of her son,
Beowulf follows her back to her watery lair and kills her too. Showered
with gifts from the Danes, he returns to Sweden where he becomes a
great leader of his people. Many years pass, and he faces the threat of
an angry fire-breathing dragon, aroused by the theft of a jeweled cup
from its treasure hoard. The aging hero kills the dragon, only after
suffering a mortal wound, and then dies himself. The Geats bury Beowulf’s ashes in an earthen tower at the sea’s edge, to guide sailors from far and wide.
Principle Character and Terms:
Hrothgar (Dane/Denmark/King of Danes/mead hall is ravaged by Grendle) Wiglaf: Beowulf’s nephew/fights with B. against the Dragon Herot/name of mead hall built by Hrothgar Wergild: “Life for Life” Unferth: best Danish warrior; jealous of Beowulf
Hygelac: King of Geats (Sweden); Beowulf’s uncle
Brecca: Beowulf’s Childhood friend Wyrd (urd): unalterable fate/ predetermination of life
Background on Poet and Significance of Poem
The poem is full of Christian sentiments, superimposed with a pagan
code of battle, heroism, and kingship. The poet was either a Christian
or was familiar with and influenced by Christianity. Some scholars
believe that some monkish hand could have added the Christian
references to improve and correct an essentially pagan epic. Most of
the Christianity within Beowulf can not be so easily dismissed as there
is too much of it. “Let God be thanked!” cries Hrothgar when the Danes
assemble to celebrate Beowulf’s victory over Grendle. These are his first words; he goes on, almost at once, to assert with great feeling that
“…the Almighty makes miracles
When He pleases, wonder after wonder, and this world
Rests in His hands…” (960-962)
In addition, the poet describes Grendle as being a relation of Cain.
“He was spawn in that slime, Shut away from men; they split
Conceived by a pair of those monsters born Into a thousand forms of evil-spirits and
Of Cain, murderous creatures banished fiends, goblins, monsters, giants,
By God, punished forever for the crime of A brood forever opposing the Lord’s
Abel’s death. The Almighty drove those demons Will, and again and again defeated.”
Out, and their exile was bitter, (103-114)
It is God, who leads Beowulf into victory over Grendle’s
vicious mother, once Beowulf has proved that he is willing and able to
help himself. The essential nature of this Christianity may not be
quite the same as those found in California, London, or Utah, but it is
an integral part of the poet’s though and his view of life. The poet
is quite skilled at blending pagan beliefs with Christianity.
Personally I find it hard to believe that he wasn’t
a Christian. If not, he must have had significant interaction with
individuals that were of that faith. This is a mystery surrounding the
poet that will never be solved as he never openly declared his faith!
We do know several aspects about the Beowulf poet, his name
unfortunately, is not one of them. We know that he was an Anglo-Saxon,
as the poem is written in his language (Old-English), who must have had
some contact with the Vikings. This would have been a strong
possibility, as the Vikings had settlements in England between 680-1010
A.D. The central settings of the poem are Sweden, Denmark, and several
names occur within the poem in association with Norse religion; these
include Hermod and Woden. Beowulf is also described as a Viking by the poet. In addition, the Norse believed in the concept of Wyrd (pronounced ‘urd’)
which translated means, “that which will happen.” It is mentioned
several times within the poem, and seems to take on a female persona.
2. Students were asked to complete their "take-home" quiz regarding "Idun's Apples" and "Necklace of the Brisings" (Due Monday)
If you missed class, please visit with me, so I can give you a "take-home" quiz
3. Students were asked to complete reading the "Introductory Information" given to them in class regarding "Beowulf"
I look forward to reading Beowulf with you next week.