Thursday, December 6. 2007
OK! Let's kick things off.
NOTE: I'm not going to be able to stay up all night tonight, so make sure you ask your questions here by 8:30pm! My computer won't even be on after 10 o'clock; I'm operating under the assumption that I've given you everything you need to ace this, because you have a) a book, b) your notes, c) the posters, d) the PowerPoints, e) time in class to ask me questions, and f) an online study session. I think it's reasonable for me to set a cut-off point at a certain time...and, admittedly, I'm hungry right now!
A few words of advice for studying students:
- Remember to study ALL of the PowerPoints. (If you don't have PowerPoint, Microsoft offers a free PowerPoint viewer online - I included it in a blog post just before we began the Beowulf unit.) This means you should know your poetic terms, as well as material from both "halves" of the poem.
- Don't freak out too much about the names! Believe it or not, you do know these people as well as you need to for the exam - you know Wealhtheow's a queen, Beowulf's a warrior, etc. If you were able to dominate the matching section on the Matrix exam (the one that featured friendly programs, hostile programs, giant mechanical gods, a hundred Biblical references, and more names, allegiances, and events than you can shake a stick at), you can handle character-related questions!
- WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT EVERY CHARACTER ON THE GUIDE. I've told all of you this before; take my advice seriously!
- Another tip for remembering which characters are which: Figure out which characters relate to certain themes. For example, when studying examples for the "Power" theme, you can obviously find something Beowulf does over the course of the poem that fits. However, you can also study that speech Hrothgar makes that I love so dearly...or read the "digression" where the poem begins mentioning Heremod's ultimate fate...or even notice that the Geats are vulnerable to attack because their kings keep dying!
- There are worlds within worlds in Beowulf, but the fact that there are so many parallels (structural, thematic, characters) means that these questions can really work to your advantage. Don't be overwhelmed by this stuff; break down the poem into its separate chunks (the main story involving Beowulf/kings/monsters and all the other little plots) and examine how they relate!
Please click "Continue reading..." to see the Study Guide and Study Questions.
Uber-Guide (First and Second Halves Combined)
Themes and Motifs:
• Good vs. Evil (gods and monsters)
• Degeneration & Decay
• Divine Will
• Heorot Hall (Major Setting) / Denmark
• The Coast
• Grendel’s Mere (a haunted/cursed swamp or lake)
• Hygelac’s Great Building
• The Dragon’s Hoard
Can you already identify or describe:
• Shield Sheafson?
• The Dragon?
Can you explain how characters relate to one another? (For example, can you tell the difference between the Geats and the Danes?)
Can you remember the difference between the royalty and those who serve them?
Can you remember the poetry terms that we covered in the very first PowerPoint (the one with the picture of Grendma)?
Can you summarize the plot of the whole poem in a couple of paragraphs?
Can you lay out the events of the poem in a timeline format (considering that the poem jumbles those events)?
Do you know why each of the “stories within the story” exist?
Can you find parallels between characters?
Can you remember the term definitions from the first study guide?
Can you provide textual examples that relate to each of our themes?
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Definitely should've listened to my instincts and eaten before starting this...In'n'Out Burger is going to make some good money after this is over!
I'm quite confuesd. Isn't King Hygelac killed by the Franks? But in your powerpoint, you say that
"Hygelac is avenge by Eofer, one of this thanes, who strikes Ongentheow down." But isn't Ongentheow a Swede?
I think Eofer gets to marry Hygelac's daughter because he avenges Haethcyn by killing Ongentheow.
Then who avenges Hygelac?
Yu Fan - I made corrections to my PowerPoint today that addressed this, and a couple of errors. I'll post the corrections in response to your question so everyone can see them!
First correction: Freawaru is *Hrothgar's daughter*, which makes her a Dane. She wants to marry Ingeld, who is one of the Heathobards. You don't need to know anything about the Heathobards, other than the fact that they don't like the Danes very much.
Hrothgar and Wealhtheow approve of the marriage, as do Ingeld's parents. However, Beowulf predicts their marriage will fail because the hatred between the two nations will eventually erupt into open fighting - thus demonstrating that hatred and revenge are cyclical in nature.
Second correction: This is the proper chronology for the Ongentheow/Hygelac/Haethcyn sequence:
1) Haethcyn (Hrethel's son, Hygelac's older brother, and the Geatish king at the time) attacks Sweden.
2) Ongentheow, the Swedish king, kills Haethcyn.
3) With Haethcyn's death, Hygelac becomes the king of the Geats.
4) Hygelac fights back against the Swedes.
5) Hygelac's thane, Eofor, avenges the old king's murder (Haethcyn's) by killing Ongentheow, the Swedish king.
6) As a reward for dispatching his brother's killer, Hygelac gives Eofor his daughter's hand in marriage.
Finally, I need everyone to know that Ecgtheow is Beowulf's father.
Could you explain Modthryth and her significance?
Modthryth is significant for a number of reasons.
Firstly, she's significant because she's Queen Hygd's opposite (just as King Heremod is the opposite of Beowulf). The poet mentions her because his audience knew who she was, and would remember her wickedness well. A comparison between Modthryth and Hygd would obviously favor the latter woman, and would emphasize her positive qualities for anyone listening to the poem.
Secondly, you may have noticed that Modthryth "mellows" somewhat after entering into an arranged marriage with Offa. This is later contrasted with the planned union between Freawaru (Hrothgar's daughter) and Ingeld. Although it would be nice to assume that marriages are always beneficial - particularly since it would be nice for the Danes and Heathobards to set aside their grudges - Beowulf, and (by extension) the poet, seems to feel that the union is doomed. Why? Because hate can conquer love, and an opportunity for revenge is difficult to pass up.
So she works well as Hygd's opposite, but she also serves as a strange sort of warning - "marriage isn't always this successful, and hate can always burn you."
Hmmm... halfway through, and very little action. Hope everyone's doing OK...
Mr. Feraco, what do "Inevitability and Divine Will" stand for? They are on the Uber-Guide's Themes and Motifs section.
Inevitability/divine will refers to an idea that runs though the poem - namely, that God chooses who wins battles, that God chooses who earns glory, and so on. The idea that God has a vested interest in the outcome of the poem's events implies that everything happens for a reason - and that the reason is set in advance. This, in turn, lends everything an air of inevitability; Beowulf has to defeat the monsters, because God has ordained it. Similarly, Beowulf will be killed by the dragon because God has determined it in advance.
One of the most interesting aspects of Bewoulf's character is tossed in, seemingly at random, near the poem (when Naegling snaps). The poet mentions that Beowulf could never win when he relied upon weapons forged from iron. I suddenly realized that Beowulf wins when he relies on what "God gives him" - his body/strength, the demon sword on Grendma's wall, etc. When Beowulf relies on weapons made by man, it seems to dilute his "divine connection" - and he becomes vulnerable.
(Speaking of the demon sword, there's a deus ex machina if I ever saw one: "Oh no! She can't be killed by my weapon! Wait...never mind! There's a giant sword over there on the wall! Good thing I found that!")
Mr. Feraco, I dont know if I can go to school tomorrow, I got into a car crash, and might have to clear some stuff out tomorrow.
But heres my question:
Why does Beowulf bring back grendel's head instead of something from grendma?
I bet the answer is so simple that I missed it..
Quite honestly, I don't know why he doesn't bring back something from Grendma. Maybe it's because she only attacked the hall once, and for clear purposes - whereas Grendel simply tormented those in Heorot for a long, long time. It was probably more gratifying to see their old enemy's head (and from the account of it, that head seemed quite large!).
On a more important note, are you OK? I'm guessing you are if you're on the blog studying for a test, but I want to make sure...
MR. feraco can you list all the little stories inside the book?
stories like the war between the Dane and the FInn. Thx.
The list of stories is as follows:
1) The tale of Sigemund (59)
2) The first mention of King Heremod (61)
3) The tale of Hildeburh, Finn, Hengest, and the long year of peace between the Danes and Frisians (71-81)
4) The final mention of King Heremod (117-119)
5) Hrothgar's speech dangers of power/Hrothgar's speech on the frailty of life (119-123)
6) Queen Modthryth's tale (133)
7) Beowulf's vision of Freawaru and Ingeld's marriage (139-141)
1) The story of Shield Sheafson/Beow/Halfdane (pages 3-7)
2) A brief "flash-forward" to Hygelac's death (85)
3) Monsters and the mere (97)
4) Beowulf's backstory (149)
5) The last survivor of the long-forgotten race hides the treasure hoard (151-155)
6) Flashback - Beowulf takes the throne (159-163)
7) Flashback - The Geats' tormented history (165-169)
Flashback - Weohstan returns the armor (177)
9) Flashback - Ongentheow falls to Eofor (197-201)
The clear parallels exist because they're, well, parallels. The backstories will help you make sense of the main story.
"No worries?" Mr.Feraco?
I am really overwhelmed by how much material we have to review for! Also, they become confusing, especially the names!
By the way, what about Hygelac's Great Building, the Coast, and Grendel's Mere?
For the settings, you only need to know what happens at each (which tells you why they're important).
do we need 3 examples for each theme?
i dont know 3 examples for vulnerability or for degeneration.
You will need to know 1-2 examples for the themes (depending on which question is being asked).
Mr. Feraco you only posted 2 powerpoint online right?
And also...I don't really get power is it like strenghth of Beowulf or is it like actual power of ruling the land?
There's no reason it can't refer to both - and you've correctly identified both aspects of "power!"
I posted three PowerPoints; you will need to know material from each.
You can find them in the following posts (posting dates in parentheses)
Grendma’s Changing Hues (November 20th) - Introduction/Poetic Terms
Linking a New Theme to a Strict Meter (November 30th) - First-Half Review
Burning in the Aftermath (December 3rd) - Second-Half Review
if the two powerpoints are updated, does that mean if we downloaded them yesterday it wouldn't be the most recent one?
The two PowerPoints HAVEN'T been updated - that's why I posted the corrections here instead.
For the theme Power, does it mean the power of someone's strength or is it like the power of the ruler?
I think no one's asking questions yet because they haven't felt the "O.. NOO I have to study" feeling. LOL because from what I remember from the Matrix one, was that everyone started asking questions late at night. One of the reasons why for me was because i was o ShooOt i goottttaaa study nOooWW so I hope you can stay on the blog a bit longer :[ if possible!! :]
We'll see - I'm still altering the test. I'm making more changes to this one than usual...not sure what's going on today, but I don't like my original test right now. I'm doing my best to clean it up, but this may mean the test becomes longer...again, we'll see.
o 1 more thing~ do we have to know the how to spell the characters name?
No - there will be nicely-typed Word Banks for you to use tomorrow. Hope that puts a smile on everyone's face!
A WOOT, Because remembering to spell Eanmund, Haethcyn, ONGENTHEOW, would destroy my mind today! Thanks for the wordbank!
what do you typically order an in-n-out?
maybe we can go together some time mr. feraco
I used to order enough to feed a small village; alas, I can now only eat enough to feed a class.
Shannon's making cookies (assuming I bring her butter and shortening when I leave the school), so I'll be passing on the fast-food option tonight!
Tell her to make an extra 300 for your seniors. You know. For our tests and all.
In the film, definitely. In the poem...not so much. You can argue, however, that power does to Beowulf what it does to everyone who holds it - it drains you, exhausts you, and defeats you (because you can never hold it forever).
The difference between our hero and, say, Heremod, is that Beowulf is exhausted because he's trying to use his power to do the right thing (keep his country alive) after experiencing countless battles and adventures. But Beowulf is a warrior at heart, born for battle and blood; he was never meant to protect his people by wasting away on the throne. Most people would love to be king; Beowulf took the throne because he had no other choice, and spent fifty years doing something that ran contrary to his nature and soul.
If anything, this makes the ending even more bittersweet; Beowulf dies, but at least he dies fighting, and at least he dies a winner.
wait so Beowulf dies from a poisonous bite from the dragon right?
Correct - Eaten away from the inside, if you want to think about it. (I think the poison serves as a metaphor for long-term power's toxic effects, but I might be reading too much into it.)
For the theme of power, how is it important? like what does power have to do with Beowulf in general? like power as in beowulf is powerful because he's aable to kill grendma and grendel and the dragon?
for the theme vulnerability? who is vulnerable Geatland? the people?
Another theme i am confuzzled with is inevitablitly? I mean how can things be inevitable? you can avoid it? like would grendel attacking and the dragon attacking be considered inevitable?
Sorry for having so many questions @_@
.----." " ".
/__/ (O )\
| | |
As far as physical power is concerned, sure - Beowulf is one heck of a good fighter! As far as "power" is concerned, you should review pages 119-123 - it contains a wonderful speech by Hrothgar on the toll power and responsibility take on the human soul.
Vulnerability - At different points, many people are placed in positions of vulnerability - the residents of Heorot Hall, for example, are vulnerable to attack. The Geats are attacked by the Swedes every time they change kings.
For more, check the response I made to Kelvin's comment (Comment #5) - it may help!
i want to know on the test, how should we efficiently answer questions about theme and motifs?
For example, lets say on the test there is a question asking "explain one of the main theme about Courage"
If i just say that courage is a main theme in the story. For example, Beowulf's courage of fighting monsters made him a great worrier. When at the end he knows he will die fighting the dragon, he still did not hesitate to accomplish that task.
if i answer lyk that, will that earn full credit?
hey mr. feraco im going to email you a word doc really soon, could you look it over for me? especially the characters in bold
if not then its all good; thanks anway
Kenneth - I sent you a corrected version. I hope everyone's study guide looks that complete...
thanks mr. feraco
its gaining really hard now, drive home safely ~
see you tmw
Kenneth, Can you send me your study guide? I really need a good study guide to prepare me for tomorrow's test. My email address is
[address deleted by instructor] Thank You very very much!
can you send it to me too that would be awesome TOO!! xie xie!!~~
ME TOOO PLEASEEEEE
[address deleted by instructor]
thank you so much
hey kenneth is there anyway I could take a look at ur study guide as well
Thanks alot I'd appreciate it.
[address deleted by instructor]
hey could you send me a copy amy..since we're connected and all. thanks kenneth lol ill give ya 10 bucks tomorrow
it's alright, we students have to help each other out
if amy doesn't send it to you let me know and ill send you it (i'll need your email address though)
I sent you a copy, Nikki!
I TOTALLY looked up my Sagittarius thing today!
I`ll tell you about it tomorrow XD IT WAS SO CREEPY!
Beowulf – main character; son of Ecgtheow; slays both Grendel, Grendma, and dragon;
Hrothgar – king of the Danes; plagued by Grendel; paid death price for Ecgtheow to end feud, so Beowulf owes him
Grendel – descendent of Cain’s clan; cursed monster; slain by Beowulf
Unferth – Danish warrior jealous of the attention Beowulf got upon arrival; attempts to embarrass Beowulf by recalling swimming match at sea Beowulf had with Breca, Beowulf’s childhood friend, but is refuted and embarrassed instead (story of slaying his two brothers when finding them lying with his mother); apologizes to Beowulf after and gives family heirloom, the sword, Hrunting, to Beowulf to use to slay Grendma (sword doesn’t work and is returned after)
Grendma – also a descendent of Cain’s clan; cursed monster; slain by Beowulf; Grendel’s mother
Shield Sheafson –Danish king from whom Hrothgar is descended; created the Danes
Wealhtheow – Hrothgar’s wife; Queen of the Danes; Freawaru’s mother
Aeschere – Hrothgar’s most trusted and valuable advisor; beheaded by Grendma
Sigemund – alluded to in a poem for slaying a dragon; foreshadowing of Beowulf’s own fight with the dragon
Wulfgar – One of Hrothgar’s retainers, he introduces Beowulf when the hero arrives at Heorot Hall.
Heremod – Beowulf’s opposite; evil; a king who hoards treasure
Finn – Frisian king; betrayed and killed after reaching a truce with the invading Danes
Hengest – a Dane who assumes the kingship after his leader is killed in the war with the Frisians; eventually fights against Finn
Hygelac - With Haethcyn's death, Hygelac becomes the king of the Geats
Halfdane – son of Beow; takes over after Beow dies; Hrothgar’s father
Beow – son of Shield Sheafson; takes over after Shield dies
Eofor – Hygelac (Geat King)’s thane who avenges Haethcyn (Hygelac’s brother) by killing Ongentheow (Swede King)
Wiglaf – Beowulf’s most loyal thane; only one that stays with him through the dragon fight; shows Beowulf proof of the dragon’s hoard before Beowulf’s passing; innocent and not cursed by the dragon for his pure intentions
Hygd – Hygelac’s wife; Queen of the Geats; contrasted with Queen Modthryth
Hrethel – Geatish king who died of grief after Herebeald died
Herebeald – eldest son of Hrethel, but killed before he could ever take power by his younger brother Haethcyn (accidentally shot him with an arrow)
Haethcyn - (Hrethel's son, Hygelac's older brother, and the Geatish king at the time)
Heardred – son of Hygelac, assumes power after his father dies for a short time before getting killed by the Swedes
Ongentheow – Swede King; kills Haethcyn (Hygelac’s brother)
Onela – Son of Ongentheow; slain by Beowulf; younger brother of Oethere
Ohthere - Son of Ongentheow; father of Eanmund and Eadgils
Eadgils – Son of Ohthere; Onela’s nephew; befriends Beowulf while in exile
Eanmund – Son of Oethere; killed by Weohstan
Weohstan – Father of Wiglaf; killed Eanmund while in exile, then attempted to return his armor and possessions to his family (Onela)
Modthryth - Queen Hygd's opposite (just as King Heremod is the opposite of Beowulf). The poet mentions her because his audience knew who she was, and would remember her wickedness well. A comparison between Modthryth and Hygd would obviously favor the latter woman, and would emphasize her positive qualities for anyone listening to the poem.
The Dragon – an ancient serpent who protects his hoard of treasures; disturbed by a servant who takes a golden goblet; attacks and is defeated by Beowulf
Ingeld – One of the Heathobards (they hate the Danes)
Freawaru – Hrothgar’s daughter (Dane) who wants to marry Ingeld (approved by Hrothgar and Wealhtheow, but Beowulf thinks the marriage is doomed)
Friesland --> Franks
Finland --> Frisians
Denmark --> Danes (Shieldings)
Sweden --> Swedes (Shylfings)
Geatland --> Geats
This study group thing is a really great idea in my opinion, thanks Mr. Feraco and students for asking questions and answering! Oh yea and thanks Kenneth for the characters!
Only users who are logged in may leave comments on this blog. Please follow the link below in order to log in.
Click here to log in