Beowulf Seminar Topics



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Beowulf Seminar Topics

You will be assigned to a seminar group to discuss one of the following topics. To prepare, you should be sure that you understand your topic thoroughly. Then, you should return to Beowulf and look for specific scenes and lines which will serve as evidence.



This informal discussion will be amongst your group members, but the class will be your audience and will have an opportunity to ask questions.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

1. One critic has commented: "Beowulf is at least in part a study of kingship -- of the attributes of a good king, of the difficulties he faces and how he overcomes them, of the problems of succession that arise upon his death." Discuss the validity of this statement, making references to the text to support your view.

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

2. Beowulf contains characteristics associated with folklore or fairy tales -- lurid and sensational events, man-eating monsters. Why, with these elements, has the poem appealed to sophisticated audiences for more than twelve hundred years? Are there counterparts to Beowulf in modern entertainment media?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

3. The scholar J. R. R. Tolkien has suggested that the theme of Beowulf deals with "man alien in a hostile world, engaged in a struggle which he cannot win . . ." Do you agree with this? In what way does modern "alienation" differ from the alienation depicted in Beowulf? In what way is it similar?

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

4. Persons considered to possess heroic qualities reflect the values and morals of their society. Compare the Anglo-Saxon hero with a person whom you consider to be a hero in our society. React to the statement about morals and values in your discussion.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.



5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.

5. What are your reasons for believing that such monstrous creatures as Grendel and men of superhuman strength like Beowulf did or did not exist? If they never lived, why did people of this early era compose stories about such characters? (Consider Greek mythology and the Bible.) Do people of today subscribe to any superstitious beliefs which find their way into modern stories, novels, plays, movies, and poetry? Give examples.


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