Beowulf Essential Questions

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Beowulf Essential Questions
1. What are the qualities of the Anglo-Saxon epic hero? How are those qualities represented in Beowulf?

2. How does the Anglo-Saxon hero compare to the Hellenistic (Greek) epic hero (Odysseus, Hercules, Achilles, etc.)? How does the he compare to the heroes of Arabian Nights? The modern hero?

3. What Christian elements are evident in the poem? What pagan elements are evident? Is there an attempt at reconciliation of these two ways of thinking? If so, how? Are God and fate the same in this poem? Why or why not?

4. What roles do the women play in Beowulf? (Don’t forget Grendel’s mom).

5. How does the role of kinship manifest itself in the poem? The role of thane and king? According to this poem, what are the most important aspects of medieval life?

6. How is evil represented? Is there a difference between Grendel and his mother? The Grendel clan and the dragon? If so, what?

7. What is a good leader/king according to Anglo-Saxon society? What is the purpose of being a good king?

8. What is the role of reputation and glory in Beowulf?
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