Thursday, October 15, 2009

BEOWULF -- The Singing, the Gift-Giving, and The Mother

The singing: note in the reading when the story is interrupted by the singer's stories of days and heroes past. What do you think is the significance of these "flashbacks" in terms of a description of "hero"? Explain at least one incident when the singer sings.

The Gift-Giving: Describe several instances in the story when Beowulf and/or his men are given gifts of gold or some other honor. What do you think is the significance of this Gift-Giving?

The Mother: briefly describe the feat of Beowulf in his battle with Grendel's mother. Make a list of hero traits that Beowulf exhibits.


  1. The singer sings from lines 1068-1159 and tells the story of Finn. He was raging war with the Danish king, Hengest. In the story, it tells of how Finn's wife suffered the loss of her son and brother in war and was mourning. Finn was affected by this and also saw the suffering of Hengest's men and so decided to make a peace treaty. Hengest kept this treaty until winter was over and he stabbed Finn in the stomach, killing him. He and his men then plundered everything from Fiin that there was to have, including Finn's wife. Its heroic significance is that it tells the story of a man who wanted to make things right. Hengest was attacked by Finn, and then Finn took advantage of him knowing that neither Hengest nor he himself had the resources or men to fight the battle further. However, as soon as he was able Hengest took back what was rightfully his. The key is not that he took it back, but that he was patient and waited for the time that was best, even though it was not easy.

    I find it interesting that the story of Finn was immediately after it was said that the Geats all received gifts for what they had done as well as gold as a sort of compensation for the loss of their brothers in arms. The giving of gifts was a bestowment of honor for bravery. It was given both after Grendel's arm was ripped off, sending him crying home to momma, and when momma herself was killed. Even before he killed either of the monsters, Beowulf was given gifts just for his courage in coming to kill them. Essentially, these gifts were badges of courage.

    Basically, Beowulf went into her lair thinking it would be a piece of cake and he would be back in 5 minutes tops. He took with him his trusty chain mail armor and his trusty helm and his oh so trusty sword that had been through umpteen battles without failing. When he got there, however, he found her to be a much tougher battle than what was expected. She bit right through his trusty helm and his oh so trusty sword would not even leave a mark. His mail was the only thing that kept him alive. However, he found an ancient sword used by Hrothgar's father and with it, he chopped her head off. This battle shows Beowulf's courage for even going in, his resourcefulness in finding the sword, and finally, his strength in finally killing her.

  2. In chapter 16 it is going back and talking about the Finns and the Danes. It goes back to show how other heros have delt with their issues. The finn king felt sorry for what his people had done to the danes because they killed a lot of their people. He ended up making a peace treaty with them. It shows that even though the danish people were angry with them they waited with out doing anything to crazy and got back what was supposed to be theirs.

    In chapter 18 they are having a feast for all of them. Many times in this book they were given gifts. This one says that he got the mos beautiful necklace known to men. Also he was given special sowards and such to try and help him fight monsters but none of them ever seemed to help him and he always gave credit to god.

    He showed that he was brave because he decided to go down there and fight them. He was very confident in himself, but the battle was much harder than he thought it was going to be. She was very strong and it was good that he was wearing the helmet and swords he was given. She was able to bit through his armor. He than saw that there was a very special sword that helped him kill her. He was couragous for even going in there. and showed that he was able to actually fight even when it was hard for him to win. He showed he was a strong fighter.


  3. In chapter 16 the singer sings while telling the story of the Finns. It starts out with the Danes losing the battle. When they realize they are losing they decide to live separately but with equal treatment.

    In chapter 22 they have a feast to celebrate Beowulf's victory. The king also promises to give him gifts the following morning. The gifts are important because they show the relief and happiness of the people. It shows how much they honor him.

    Beowulf proves that he is a very stong guy by defeating Grendel's mother after his helmet and sword didnt do anything to protect him. He showed how brave he was by going to the swamps in the first place and proved it even more by fighting the monster by himself.

  4. During chapter 16 and 17 we are introduced to the singer. This singing is also a story being told. The story is about Finn and the war he was bringing about against the king of the Danes, Hnaf. Hnaf's sister was married to Finn. Finn killed Hnaf during this war causing his wife's mourning over her brother and her sons death. She thought it was a way to see her husbands good faith and that those deaths were due to fate through God's decision. They found that not only were the Danes at a loss in this war, but Finn's people too had many fallen to the Danes. There were not enough to keep this war going unless it led to defeat. With not enough men to lead the Danes to their end it made Hengest (Hnaf's follower) flee to the hall where they fought and he stayed. Finn then decided to instead stop the war and make a peace treaty. The treaty was kept, but not for long. They lived under the same roof the Danes without a king and hatred filling each one. Hengest was going to wait for the new year to come and go back to his home, but his yearning for revenge stepped in first. He stabbed Finn in the stomach resulting in his death. They then took everything from Finn they could find and his wife even willing and wanting went with them. This story shows heroically that they both knew what they needed for their people in stopping the war, but that revenge would come. Hengest was just waiting for the perfect time or when he could hold it no longer and was forced to kill him.
    In this story gifts seem to be a symbol of thanks and appreciation. Beowulf receives gifts quite a few times. When he kills Grendel the Danes and their king, Hrothgar, give Beowulf a golden banner, helmet, coat of mail, and an ancient sword. These gifts along with a feast show him how much they appreciate him for his courage.
    Beowulf thought the fight with Grendel's mother would be an easy one, but he soon found that he was wrong. He went into the lake where she dwelt. He brought with him his chain mail armor, sword, and helmet he was given to help him in the battle. To his surprise she bit through the helmet and along with the other weapons it was not much help. The one thing that did help though was his armor that for the most part kept him from a major injury. Beowulf then had to use his own strength against the mother and thankfully that was enough and he came out on top.

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  6. In chapter 16 the singer tells the story of the battle between the Finns and the Danes. In this story we realize that the king of the Finns felt guilty for what he had done to the Danish, I think that depicts him as a hero because even though he doesn't feel bad for hurting the ones he feels deserved it, he does feel guilt for hurting the innocent people. He feels a little bit of pity for them so they agree to sign a treaty. Also this shows that positive outcome that can come from waiting (for the Danes). It shows that if you don't get too rash too quickly then you may get what you want in the end, even though that isn't always the case it worked nicely for them.

    I completely agree with Matthew when he says that the gifts are badges of courage. I believe they give gifts before battles because they know there is a possibility that Beowulf and his men will not return, the fact that they are willing to risk their life is enough reason to be rewarded, even if their mission is not a success. Then when they return they also receive gifts, this is to celebrate the fact that they have won the battle, and to honor them for being skillful enough to do so. One gift he received was a necklace said to be the most beautiful there ever was.

    When Beowulf went down to fight the mother, he wasn't expecting it to be very difficult, I think this is because he destroyed Grendel so quickly and scared him so much, that he assumed that it would be the same thing with his mother. He brought all of his weapons and armor, however; it didn't do much good. She matched him blow for blow and realized that this was a pretty fair fight. So he used his quick-mindedness to find the sword hanging on the wall that could kill her. I think in this part of the book it shows that he is very resourceful, quick-minded, brave, strong, and most importantly persistent.

  7. Now we meet the singer. Chapter 16 the singer tells of the story of the battle of Finns and the Danes. The king of the Finns feels guilty for what he had done to the Danes. This talks of true heroes, and how the heroes solved their problems. The way the Finn's king solved their problem was making a peace treaty with the Danes. I think that is heroic because he realized what he did was wrong and fixed it.

    Matthew and Miranda both say that gifts are badges of courage. If they are going to risk their lives, they deserve something in return. I don't completely believe in this. For me, some of it is self pride that I have, and that others cannot give to me with gifts. He was given a beautiful necklace for risking his life. He has also been given swords and many other precious gifts.

    Beowulf's fight with Grendel's mother was very intense. Beowulf underestimated her strength. I believe she had more to fight for, so that is why she fought harder. She had a family, the only thing Beowulf had was his town to fight for. He has Grendel's mother at a weak point and he uses a sword that was up in their home to cut her head off. Beowulf is a strong, powerful, and brave fighter. He was extremely confident in himself what helped him pull through with killing Grendel's mother.

  8. The singer tells the story of the battle of Finns and Danes. The king feels bad for what he has done to Danes. They talk about heros and the true meaning of heros. The badges of courage i totally believe if they are going to risk there lifes the should be able to get something back for their heroic activity that they preformed. He was given many gifts for what he did and he had people dance and sing around him which makes him feel good. When Beowulf fights with Grendals mom it is crazy because it was intense and cool. I believe she had more to fight for then Beowulf he underestamated her strength and ability to fight.

  9. The singer talks about the battle between the Finns and the Danes. The Finns won and their king felt bad for them so he signed a treaty and gave most of the land and other things back to the Danes.

    Beowulf got gifts before and after every battle and he got them for his courage and strenght.

    Beowulf fought Grendel's mom and he thought she was going to be very weak but she wasn't it was a very close fight a very long fight. Until the light shinned on the sword sent from God he grabs it and kills her and he sees Grendel's body and he cuts off both heads and takes Grendel's back to the people.

  10. In chapter 16 the singer tells the story about finns and danes. The king felt bad for what he did about what he did to the innocence people. He signed a peace treaty which shows he knows what he did wrong so he is trying to fix it

    This is when they all had a feast and they gave gifts. I think the badges were a symbol of courage.

    The fight with grendels mothers showed that Beowulf is a stong and confident leader. It showed me that he is strong and has a lot of cofindence in himself. He also had a lot of confidence when he fought Grendal.

  11. The singer in chapter 16 sings and tells the story of finns and danes. The singer goes back to tell how other heroes have dealt with their issues too. The singer wants to tell them how the others in the past dealt with other things like they both are dealing with now. Finns had problems with Danes. Finns solved his problem by making a treaty with Danes. This was good because he knew what he did was wrong and he confussed to it and got over it with the treaty.

    Beowulf gets gifts before his battles and after them. The gifts he gets are for his courage and his strength that he shows in his battles and everything he does.

  12. The singer starts in chapter 16 and he sings about and tells the story of the Finns and Danes. he sang about how the finns won and the king felt bad and helped them with signing a treaty to give the danes their land back. That showed the king was a good leader because he did what was right.

    The gift giving shows that they are honoring beowulf for his victory, it also shows that they all care for each other.The king promised them gifts and they got gifts.

    Grendels mother was stronger than Beowulf had expected. The victory for Beowulf showed his confidence, courage, and bravery

  13. 'He told them of Finn's people, attacking Hnaf with no warning, half wiping out that Danish tribe, and killing its king. Finn's wife, Hnaf's sister, learned what good faith was wroth to her husband: his honeyed words and treachery cost her two beloved lives, her son and her brother, both falling on spears guided by fate's hand. How she wept!' (page 47). Basically talking about how obvioulsy her brother and son died and how she is mourning over them and it's very hard for her to go through it.
    The gift giving is pretty much that the Geats got gifts of gold because two of their war men died.
    It was difficult at first for him to kill Grendel's mother but eventually he chopped her head off and was done with it.

  14. The significance of the singing is a man telling a story of something someone did in the past that they have overcome it and hope that the person who comes to save them can succeed in what the other messed up and that they can raise their hero's self esteem so as they perform better and when all is said and done.. they can rest in peace and they can know for certain that they would be safe. At the end of the story, Beowulf becomes king and his people depend on him for protection, but when he needs a hero who's going to be there for him??? One man stood there before him and fought off the dragon as Beowulf would have done for them...and he was a hero. Others who Beowulf had fought for ran from fright instead standing up and being courageous. In the end after Beowulf's death, the people sing of the old king that was terrible to them and made sure that good word was spoken of Beowulf about everything he did for them and how he protected them, and only desired peace for his people,and put them first when no else would.

    gifts were very special in this story considering the times they were given. For example: when beowulf defeated Grendel and Grendel's mother, many things were given to him as were things given to him before he killed Grendel... The king was prepared to ready him for the fight and gave him a sword, mail armor, and a horse... They were there to show appriciation for his courage to help these people with full knowledge of what bravery is and the glory of God and the impact that can come over another being because of the use of these objects. Another time is @ the end... kinda like.. wat goes around comes around(in a good way). When Beowulf was dying, Wiglaf spent the time with him and made sure that all of his wishes were granted because of the things he sacrificed for his people and then brought the prizes to Beowulf as a gift of appriciation to show that no matter what he desired to have, he would give him that gift.

    Grendel's mother is the devil in this story... She is devistated when she finds that Beowulf had murdered her son and taken his arm as his own prize for what he had accomplished and, showing her power, she felt the desire to take back what was hers and feeling threatened, Beowulf was going to get his prize back from her and he went into the firey pits of hell to retrieve this prize and then some. He felt revenge was needed to get back @ her for taking his pride and joy from him. He fought with all his might, fully prepared for what was in store for him and his armor gave way and he felt fear for his life, but she also couldn't get to him and suddenly a beam of light came to shine on an old sword constructed by monsteres from the day and he defeated her with this sword.. feeling that God had wanted him to use it and knowing that God was on his side. When he left he was exhausted and weary from the fight, almost being defeated, and When he came to ground level... He watched as her blood combined with the water and he knew then that he could breathe and she was gone forever to never harm the people.