1. anathema- a person that is doomed by a divine figure
2. lair- the home or den of a wild animal
3. wassail- a celebration that includes heavy drinking
4. parley- a meeting
5. mail- armor made of small metal rings
6. mead- an alcoholic beverage that consists of fermented water and honey
7. baleful- full of hurtful influence
8. ignominious- to be associated with disgrace
9. heathen- a person who does not believe in the God from the Bible
10. hoard- a reserve that is saved for further use
11. depredations- to prey on
12. hart- a male deer
13. alacrity- a response without delay
14. whorled- to be shaped like a coil
15. ensconced- to dwell snugly
16. hale- healthy and without disease
17. accoutrement- a soldier's equipment; weapons and armor
18. beseeched- to plead eagerly
19. gloaming- twilight
20. virulent- strongly malicious or hostile
21. quelled- to conceal (emotions/anxieties)
22. suppurating- to make or discharge pus
23. languishing- to have less vitality
24. disconsolate- without comfort or solace
25. dirges- a funeral song that conveys a feeling of mourning
26. Anglo-Saxon- relating to or denoting the Germanic inhabitants of England from their
arrival in the 5th century up to the Norman Conquest.
27. Epic poem- a long poem about an event that usually revolves around a hero
28. Kenning- phrase or words to describe a person or thing indirectly
1. Beowulf shows that he is a classic hero by being loyal, brave, having honor and by putting his
life on the line for the greater good. This is evident when he says “I would rather not/ use a
weapon if I knew another way to grapple with the dragon.../ as I did against Grendel.../ so I go
forth in mail-shirt and shield.” He knew that he would most likely die in the battle against the
dragon so he decided to go into battle like a brave soldier fighting for his country.
Beowulf shows his loyalty to his king and queen by refusing to take the throne when the king
Hygelac dies. “Yet there was no way the weakened nation/ could get Beowulf.../ to undertake the
office of kinship.” He showed that he had faith in the young prince when everyone, even his
mother, had none. And it took that king to die as well for Beowulf to decide to become ruler.
2. In the battle scene against Grendel, the poem uses entirely different words to describe both
fighters. On the one hand, Beowulf is defined as “...that prince of goodness...” while Grendel is
depicted as a “...shadow-stalker...” Beowulf is clearly being displayed as God and Grendel is
supposed to be the Devil. Grendel is a descendant of Cain, the first murderer in the Bible and he
is the epitome of wickedness.
Moreover, the poem also uses phrases like “God-cursed Grendel” and “...his glee was
demonic...” to show how malevolent Grendel really is. He killed all those innocent in cold blood
and showed absolutely no remorse. And this is what makes Grendel the perfect villain to
Beowulf’s nearly God-like hero.
3. Grendel and his mother’s lair was far off the beaten path and miles away from civilization to
represent how untouchable they were. They were vagabonds that only kept to themselves with
their secrecy and sorcery. They were obviously trying to keep people away since the party was
forced to endure “...narrow footpaths… where the were forced into a single file, ledges on cliffs
above lairs of water monsters.” They didn’t want anybody messing with their normal, day-to-day
And the creatures in the lake where Grendel’s mother resides? The represent the creatures of
hell. “The water was infested with all kinds of reptiles. There were writhing sea-dragons and
monsters… serpents and wild things…” The Devil has been depicted by many creatures, but the
most known interpretation is the Devil is the snake. So if there are snakes and animals that look
like snakes there is probably some evil going on there.
4.In Beowulf’s final address to his companions he looks back on his life and all of his
accomplishments. He recalls how his father sent him to live with the king when he was just a
child, becoming a lord in King Hygelac’s reunite and killing a Frankish fighter with his hands.
And as he realizes that he is going to die fighting the dragon, he decides to make his last boast. It
wasn’t to brag about having super human abilities, it was so that his men had something to
remember him by.
And as he was boasting, Beowulf decided that he was going to fight the dragon on his own. He
knew that he could beat the dragon when he said “I shall pursue this fight/ for the glory of
winning…” The reason that he decided to fight the dragon alone was not to die like as a legend,
but to sacrifice his life in place of his companions.
5. Wiglaf stayed with Beowulf when everyone else deserted him because he had honor. And that
is one of the best trait that a classic hero could have. When everyone else lost faith, Wiglaf still
had it. Because Beowulf had had faith in them when he first picked them. “ He picked us
out/from the army deliberately, honored us and judged us…”
Wiglaf acts as Beowulf’s best friend through out the epic poem. This is a common trope in
fantasy such as A Game of Thrones between the relationship of Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly.
The point of having a foil character is to highlight the qualities of the hero. Similarly, Wiglaf’s
role highlights the best in Beowulf such as his bravery loyalty and honor and his purpose of
doing what’s right.