Beowulf Essay Topics Choose one of the following topics to write a two-page double-spaced essay documenting your opinions with evidence from the poem. The essays will be scored based on the attached rubric

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The Epic Poem Project

1. Choose a hero. You can be your own hero, or you may choose a real person, but you must give your hero superhuman qualities like Beowulf. Your hero must meet all 4 criteria for an epic hero by the end and display Anglo- Saxon earthly virtues.

2. Beowulf is a symbol – he has a place in the epic, but also in the religion behind the epic. You should base your epic on a religious or philosophical world view and develop characters who are symbolic within that world view. Just as Beowulf (messiah), Grendel (devil) and Hrothgar and the Danes (church) are symbolic of Christian figures, your hero must represent his cultural and spiritual background. You can use your own religion or philosophy of life, or you may create one, but either way you must assume that I know nothing about it and attach a ½ page explanation of it and its use in your epic at the end of your project.
3. Your epic should have 5 parts similar in length to those in Beowulf. They should have descriptive titles as do those in Beowulf. There is no maximum length, only minimum – about 50 lines of a similar length to those in the book.
4. Your epic must contain at least 3 examples EACH of alliteration, assonance, caesura and kenning. You MUST highlight them.
5. You should include a cover page with illustrations and your title.
6. Any strong resemblance to another person’s work will result in a zero.

* In the event of uneven numbers, a group of three may be formed or one person may work alone. In either case, each person must write 2 parts of an epic poem, and the project must contain all of the other requirements.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Beowulf put everyone else first, such as when he came to help Hrothgar without being asked.

  • Appearance may be deceiving and people may change – remember when Hrothgar and his men change religion.

  • Beowulf uses details and exaggeration to get your attention.

  • Beowulf is divided into 3 main parts – one for each of Beowulf’s three battles.

  • In Beowulf, there is a clear good side and evil side, and the good side is under attack. This inspires people to side with the hero.

The Epic Poem Project:

Grading Rubric

5 parts similar in length to Beowulf that fit the definition of an epic.

1 2 3 4 5

½ page explanation of worldview is attached and the hero clearly fits and represents this worldview throughout the poem.

1 2 3 4 5

Contains all literary elements: Alliteration, Assonance, Kenning, Caesura (3 of each, highlighted).

1 2 3 4 5

Cover page with illustrations is present, as are descriptive titles for each part.

1 2 3 4 5

Hero meets requirements (4 characteristics of an Epic Hero and 4 Anglo-Saxon earthly virtues).

1 2 3 4 5

TOTAL _________X4

BONUS: You may only receive bonus once!

_____ Performed musically for the class

_____ Created additional visuals

_____ Created and presented dramatic version to the class

_____ Other (pre-approved): ______________________________

Grendel G’s Mother Dragon


On a quest








Beowulf Project

1. Choose 3 themes from Beowulf. Ideas to get you started include reversal, heroism, humility, ethics, and questioning.

2. Write about each theme, citing examples from the text. Be detailed, thorough and specific. You may write 2+ paragraphs per theme, or you may create an outline for each. A good rule of thumb is 10+ examples per theme with explanations of their significance. Cover the entire text. See example (Note: example drawn from full version of poem with different line numbers).

3. Attach a visual to each theme. You may draw pictures, create a mix CD with

1 corresponding track per theme (and a print-out of edited & relevant lyrics), develop a creative performance for the class, or an idea of your own

(run it by me first).

4. Choose 2 allusions from the epic and complete steps 2 & 3 for each.

5. Choose 1 character (excluding Beowulf) that you think is central to the story and identify his or her main trait. Ideas include Wiglaf or Welthow.

Complete steps 2 & 3 for this character.

6. Any strong resemblance to someone else’s work will result in a zero on atleast that portion of the assignment.
Sample Outline Format

(no, you may not use this as one of your themes)

THEME: Judgment


21 banished … punished God judges Grendel as He did Cain,

Grendel = murderer = judges by God

28 again defeated God’s judgment = repeated defeat

35 thoughts quick as claws Grendel doesn’t judge like

humans/God – animalistic, irrational

65 sung in men’s ears men re-tell story, judge Grendel evil

100 no solace God judges those who turn from Him

130 bravely… welcome Wulfgar judges that Beowulf can see Hrothgar while wearing armor (Beowulf is important/respected)

169 Higlac would think B fears being judges unworthy

204 bought the end Hrothgar does not judge Edgetho

240 you … fool Unferth misjudges Beowulf

370 pleased with words Welthow judges Beowulf well

435 flooded with fear Reader judges Grendel – weak

542 warrior seemed worthier Men judge Beowulf honorably

556 stag with great horns deer judge lair too evil to enter

630 God gave judgment God is on B’s side

660 repaid B fulfils God’s judgment against

Grendel & his mother

668 I would … B judges self, says not weak to use weapons

747 none came reader judges Geats for not helping B

751 a good man Wiglaf judged well

764 boasting Wiglaf judges Geats – weak, scared

808 lead my people B judges Wiglaf – worthy to rule

832 his greatness Geats judge B’s life, he was great

Epic Project: Grading Rubric

• Covers entire text and all parts of assignment.

1 2 3 4 5

• Depth of thought is evident (Bloom’s Taxonomy).

1 2 3 4 5

• Thorough development of each piece.

1 2 3 4 5

• Sufficient original detail supports each piece.

1 2 3 4 5

• Visuals are relevant and support each piece.

1 2 3 4 5

TOTAL _________ X4


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