Beowulf 1 (Lines 1-228) (Responses)
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TimestampLast NameFirst NameWhat are TWO questions or insights you have about the reading?List a line or lines that you found particularly interesting and explain your choice.Anything else about the reading you'd like to discuss when we are together in class?
8/13/2014 16:37:12AbasSolomonWhy was there a mix of pagan and christian philosophies?
Does Grendel enjoy the killing?
Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people everywhere.' (23) This is a pretty universal insight.


solomon is so cool
8/13/2014 15:26:00AguilarRicardoDid the leader die and did his son became the new leader?

Was there really a war by Grendel with the people, or was it just an exaggeration?
The excerpt, "Behaviour that's admired is the path to power amongst people everywhere" was interesting because that might be one of the plots of the epic poem. I also thought that it was interesting, because it's also something that happens in real life, people normally look up to people that have good character and that is why it says that have power amongst people everywhere.
8/13/2014 23:13:35AllmanJacccckieThe language is sort of hard to follow and I find myself stopping and rereading parts outloud that didn't quite click in my head. When I compare the old english to the more modernized english, I do notice some similarities.
I can definitely tell that this was a story that was told through word of mouth because of the dramatic undertones and the way that it is told. It makes it more suspenseful.
I feel like there has been a lot of characters introduced and it is hard for me to keep up with each of them. How is grendel related to the plot? The language and structure are kind of confusing and I am not yet able to make sense of all of it.
"So Grendel wages his lonely war, inflicting constant cruelties on the people, atrocious hurt. He took over Heorot, haunted the glittering hall after dark,but the throne himself, the treasure-seat, he was kept from approaching; he was the Lord's outcast." (13)
I feel like this sort of encompasses the "turmoil" that is customary to happen before an epic hero is introduced. Also, I'm not 100% sure what it means by "he was the lords outcsast" , but I would like to!
No Thanks:)
9/26/2014 14:02:07AprilBakersdfkjd;aslfasdflkj;ldsfasdlfkjl;dsf
8/13/2014 16:18:32BallarinEzioWhy is Beowulf not named right away, only referred to as "Hygelac's thane"? So Grendel is a descendant of Cain, the original demon, and terrorized Hrothgar, Shield Sheafson's son, and his kingdom for 12 years before Beowulf set sail from Sweden? "Then a powerful demon, a prowler through the dark,
nursed a hard grievance. It harrowed him
to hear the din of the loud banquet,
every day in the hall, the harp being struck
and the clear song of a skilled poet
telling with mastery of men's beginnings,
how the Almighty had made the earth
a gleaming plain girdled with waters;
So times were pleasant for the people there
until finally one, a fiend out of hell,
began to work his evil in the world."

Lines 86-93 and 99-101
8/14/2014 0:44:24BaltazarKarlaWhat does the following sentence mean?:
"No man can tell, no wise man in hall or weathered veteran knows for certain who salvaged that load" (50-52).

Why did it take for someone to start worrying about the Geats' misery after twelve years of the inicial Grendel attacks? Why wouldn't it take sooner?
"He took over Heorot, haunted the glittering hall after dark, but the throne itself, the treasure-seat, he was kept from approaching; he was the lord's outcast" (166-169).

It leaves me wondering about the possible relation between the king's throne and God as portrayed in the story. I would guess that this a somewhat significant event in the story as well as symbolic.
8/13/2014 21:37:28BeachemDallonIs it just one demon that is taking on all of these people?
Is Beowulf mentioned any other time besides in the beginning on line 19?
Over the waves, with the wind behind her and foam at her neck, she flew like a bird" - lines 217-218

These two lines create a clear picture of what was occurring. It is reassuring since I thought this story was going to be nearly incomprehensible. Descriptive lines like these are riddled throughout the text; I don't think this will be as horrible as I had predicted.
8/13/2014 17:44:57BushreeBrianGrendel is clearly the opposing force in this story so far.

The Geats were very thankful to make it to land probably because they have had rough trips in the past.
"There was no one else like him alive. In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth, high born and powerful"

This shows the fact that all epics have an almost immortal hero.
No thanks. too much swag....
8/13/2014 22:06:25CreekEliAre the men of Danes both Christian and pagan?

Why is Grendel so powerful?
Instead, they inspected omens and spurred his ambition to go, whilst he moved about like the leader he was, enlisting men, the best he could find; with fourteen others the warrior boarded the boat as captain, a canny pilot along coast and currents (204-209). I like how even though the elders held Beowulf dearly, that they were able to let him go when the time was needed. I also enjoyed how the author gives a sense of authority and charisma to Beowulf that makes the reader put him on a pedestal, as a superhuman. Although I disagree with isolating this fictional character.No
8/13/2014 18:21:40DeckerDevonWhile Hrothgar has the sound morals of an epic hero, he is unable to defeat the demon, and in that failure he is much more sympathetic to the reader.

It was confusing that the son of the first king has a similar name to the title character; is that character coming back under the name Beowulf, or is that character yet to be introduced?
"Oh, cursed is he who in time of trouble has to thrust his soul in the fire's embrace" (183-185)
I thought this line was interesting not just in the religious context, but as a general concept as well. Many people turn to measures they wouldn't normally in situations of dire need.
No thanks.
8/13/2014 14:36:46DobrinaFeliciaIt states that it "harrowed [Grendel] to hear the din of the loud banquet...," does this mean that Grendel began his crusade of destruction because he no longer wished to hear the people praise and idolize the "Almighty?"

As the poem depicts Grendel's "lonely war" it says "but the throne itself, the treasure-seat, he was kept from approaching; he was the Lord's outcast." What is it referring to as the "treasure-seat?"

"Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people everywhere." I found this line interesting because it does such a wonderful job describing the moral purpose behind epic poems and epic heroes.

"the killer instinct unleashed among in laws, the blood-lust rampant." I like this line because I really love the poetic, connotative, word choice used to foreshadow a coming war or evil.
No, thank you. :)
8/13/2014 19:06:10EdwardsAustinIn the second stanza, it said that Shield Sheafson "was one good king." Was that due to the fact that he improved from being someone who needed to have his "powers waxed and his worth proved" to having people even across the sea pay tribute? Is he being called a good king solely based on his achievement?

When Shield dies, why does he have all that stuff stowed on a ship with him? Was that just what a social norm for when people in positions of power died?
"Then as dawn brightened and the day broke Grendel's powers of destruction were plain:" (126-127)
I chose this one because I thought it was weird how they made Grendel lose power when it was day. It's not weird because he's an evil creature that gets his power from the dark. However, since Grendel is kind of like the devil when compared to the bible, it's weird that he would lose power because in ways the devil doesn't lose power during the day.
No I'm good.
8/14/2014 7:17:42FerriJodieWhat is the exact translation of Beowulf ? I have a bit of a hard time completely understanding what I'm reading because of the literary style."He was numb with grief, but got no respite"(134). It's interesting that even way back then they used numb to describe the way they felt after something tragic.No thanks :)
8/14/2014 7:46:17FigueroaAutumnHas Beowulf existed yet, did they already mention him, but he's too young to help Danes?
Is he their Savior the poem speaks about in the last few lines before 228?
"Heorogar, Hrothgar, the good Halga
and a daughter, I have heard, who was Onela's Queen,
a balm in bed to the battle-scarred Swede."
Not that I can think of :)
8/13/2014 17:49:26GarciaKristineWhy are ships always personified as women?

Could the king be considered a foil character to Beowulf?
"Oh, cursed is he who in time of trouble has to thrust his soul in the fire's embrace, forfeiting help; he has nowhere to turn. But blessed is he who after death can approach the Lord and find friendship in the Father's embrace." (183-138)

I find these lines to be particularly interesting because of the connection to hope. I feel like the lines are a prominent indication of old culture that people shunned those who have felt like that God had abandoned them, and praised those who accept God even when they are receiving brutal pain. I feel like it shows how culture has changed in that people have become more accepting and helping of others religions. I still feel like that the same idea of hope does exist in modern times just in a different form.
8/13/2014 21:00:32GerringerMollyThere are many references to god being this omnipotent being who controls everything, which I feel shows much about the mindset of the people in the era when Beowulf was composed.
The author likes to use indirect language to say things, he doesn't just say someone dies instead he says "took his leave of life on earth"(line 55-56).
"Malignant by nature, he never showed remorse"( line 137).Nope.
8/13/2014 23:33:51HamaweYadSo how did Grendel become a thing? I know he's a demon but where does his existence come from?
An an epic poem, can there be more than one character thats considered an epic hero?
"Whoever escaped kept a weather-eye open and moved away." line 144
This was interesting to me because I couldn't really grasp the full significance of it. What exactly does a weather eye mean? And where would most people move away to?
Honestly, it was a little hard for me to comprehend considering its not really my genre of choice and that way its written. But I did my best and I hope that all that counts. I will be very interested in discussing tomorrow so that I can try and get a better understanding on what is going on :)
8/13/2014 14:54:58HendrieKameron- Shield Sheafson had been abandoned (sent off into the sea) as an infant yet later rose to power( when he died he was covered in armor and treasures and sent out into the sea).
-Beowulf is the Geatish king Hygelac's nephew and travels to the Danes to help.
"They decked his body no less bountifully with offerings than those first ones did who cast him away when he was a child and launched him alone out over the waves."(lines 43-46 )

Usually in older stories, one is born into royalty and becomes powerful that way. Rather than how Shield Sheafson did.
8/13/2014 23:16:00HoffmanZachWhen the father dies in the beginning, do they fill his boat with treasures to represent his wealth and status and send him to a burial at sea?

Did the monster Grendel attack the great mead hall and the kings armies? Or just the hall
Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people everywhere. (5)
Even though that this text comes from ancient times before the Germanic tribes started raiding, they understood that the key to being a great ruler was having the peoples favor and gratitude on your side.
8/13/2014 21:34:28HowardJarodSo Beow is part of the royal family of the Shieldings, and I assume this hero coming from the land of the Geats is Beowulf, is there a relation between the two? or does the hero earn the name of Beowulf like an honoring title?

Insight: This book is going to be SO much fun to read, I have to read almost all of it twice to really understand what it says
"His warrior band did what he bade them when he laid down the law among the Danes: they shouldered him out of the sea's flood, the chief they revered who had long ruled them." (28-31) I chose these lines because I like how it explains the loyalty that Shield's men had for him.America has never lost a war when donkeys were in use.
8/13/2014 22:52:51IsenseeKathrynIn line 26 is it saying that his father died so he took over leadership?

Is Beowulf related to Beow?
"Ogres and elves and evil phantoms and the giants too who strove with God time and again until He gave them their reward." (112-114)

This line is a good example of the addition of Christianity to the story
No thank you
8/13/2014 16:09:14JebraelIvanGrendel is a mean monster. He seems to be the antagonist in the story, but I can not assume it to be him, since it is just the beginning.
Perhaps the protagonist is "the warrior", who had set sail to fight Grendel, and help the King/Danes.
Lines (202-205)
Context, about how the Geats, were okay with the famous prince/warrior's, over in Geatland, plan to help Hrothgar by going there to fight Grendel.
"Nobody tried to keep him from going, no elder denied him, dear as he was to them. Instead, they inspected omens and spurred his ambition to go."
I saw this interesting, because the omens part, gives a foreshadowing that the warrior will slay Grendel successfully.
no thank you.
8/13/2014 22:32:01JirjisHusamWas it ever mentioned how Shield Sheafson, the great king of the ancient Danes rose to power? I am asking this question because Sheafson did have Beow, then Halfdane, and finally Hrothgar as kings and it would be somewhat important to know how Shield Sheafson gained his authority as a king (if ever mentioned, I couldn't find it in the text).

Why did Grendel (the evil demon descendant from Cain) kept wrecking the Danes? Is it just because he's a demon?...But there has to be more to it.

"So times were pleasant for the people there
until finally one, a fiend out of hell,
began to work his evil in the world". (99-101).

I found this quote interesting because this is the first appearance of a fiend coming out from hell, and needless to say, he is looking for unpleasant actions towards humans...Or Danes in this case. This could also be a reference to the "Good vs. Evil theme".
8/13/2014 22:30:44LeimbachElisabethHow does one become the "Greatest hero" in the world?
Is there a story behind why Grendel is so evil?
"Shield had fathered a famous son:
Beow's name was known through the north.
And a young prince must be prudent like that,
Giving freely while his father lives" (19-22)

I like this because to me it shows a certain lifestyle that "royals" must live, so to speak.
8/14/2014 8:56:45LeonCharlesWhy does Grendel come from the swamp?

Why does Grendel only attack periodically?
They decked his body no less bountifully with offerings than those first ones did who cast him away when he was a child Nope :)
8/13/2014 19:15:56LickonaFinianMy BIGGEST trippin' point while reading this opening portion of the poem was that a few of the characters were referred to interchangeably by both their names and which warriors were their fathers. Some of the time Hrothgar is Hrothgar, and other times he is "Son of Halfdane" (which was confusing in and of itself because the nation that Hrothgar belongs to is called The Danes, so the name Halfdane implies that there's some kind of racial mixing in even though it seems pretty clear that Halfdane is a purebred Dane which implies that his unusual name is just the author messing with us). Anyway, my question is, why the hell do they do this -- why not just be consistent? I understand that heritage might be REALLY important in this culture, but good narrative form is to maintain a degree of consistency, especially in nomenclature. Why not simply refer to a warrior as "Elbthadgagldraglahdathagdarecgeahtar, son of Bae" the first time he is introduced and then as just "Elbthadgagldraglahdathagdarecgeahtar" thereafter? It would make things MUCH clearer.

Second question: Where does Grendel originate from and is his main beef with the Danes really just that they make a lot of noise in their Meade Hall? It seems like Grendel's introduction into the story should be a little more logical than "and suddenly monster." Was he in the general area before the Meade Hall was constructed, brooding but leaving the Danes alone because they weren't being too rowdy for his tastes? I understand that there has to be an antagonist to generate a conflict to be resolved, but I feel like there could be a little more to exactly WHY Grendel is the antagonist.
"and a daughter, I have heard, who was Onela's queen, a balm in bed to the battle-scarred Swede." (62-63)

I found this interesting because not only is the daughter mentioned solely in the context of being a sexual relief to a warrior who isn't even pertinent to the main narrative, but she isn't even given a name. I feel like these two lines, as brief as they are, are very powerfully indicative of exactly what the role of women is in warrior societies and why all stories from these cultures are solely about men.

"So Grendel waged his lonely war" (164).

I want to know why the war Grendel is waging is referred to as "lonely." Is it because he's the only one who's fighting on his side? Or is the audience supposed to sympathize with Grendel as an isolated outcast who is lashing out at the Danish people because he is alone? I feel like it's already obvious that Grendel is the only entity attacking the Danes, so including the word "lonely" when describing his assault makes me think that the author is trying to add another emotional dimension to the conflict.
If Hrothgar's people are the Danes, then what are Beowulf's people? Or are they all considered Danes, just from different parts of the same region?
8/14/2014 7:14:29MartinezKimberlyWho's the narrator of the story?

How long was the battle with Grendel before Hygelac came to help?
He set the sun and the moon to be Earth's lamplight, lanterns for men, and filled the broad lap of the world with branches and leaves; and quicken the life in every other thing that moved. (94-98; pg 9)

I simply thought the wording of this was interesting and not too difficult to understand like some other lines. I like the way it sounds when spoken out loud as well.
8/13/2014 18:47:09McPherronAudreyWhat is a torque exactly? I've heard the reference before in reference to weapons, and googled the definition, but I'm not 100% sure how to use it properly. (line 80)
So is Heorot the name of the hall, correct? At first I didn't realize that it was the name of the hall, I thought it was a person for the first few lines. (The "he" threw me off.)
Nor did he renege, but doled out rings
and torques at the table.
I still don't know what torques mean. Like, doled out twisted... things...? The definition of torque is "a twisting force that causes rotation". WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Why is Grendel evil for the sake of being evil, that's dumb. #stopcartoonyvillains2014
8/13/2014 14:03:21NegusClaire1. So. The Spear-Danes. Referred to as Spear-Danes because they used spears more often than swords, or?

2. Is Beow (still on page 1) in any way related to Beowulf (who isn't even mentioned by name in this section but is sort of suggested by "Hygelac's thane")? I'm gonna guess probably not, but just to make sure.....
Lines 24-25 "Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people everywhere." Words of wisdom. Accurate then and still accurate now--if you want to have influence in any circle (in the big picture, if you want to be in charge of a nation) (in most cases) you need to be popular. People need to like what you do. Because then people will respect you. People may even revere you. You will get their vote (in democratic countries)

I also find it interesting how Grendel is referred to (multiple times) as lonely or being alone. Lines 144-145 "So Grendel ruled in defiance of right, one against all" and line 164 "So Grendel waged his lonely war"......I think its significant in showing that he's the bad guy, especially if you think about when this was written--at a time where clan-ship and tribes and loyalty and belonging to other people in general were obviously highly valued, this enemy is referred to as the opposite---he wages a "lonely" war and is fighting "one against all".
No, thank you. Have a wonderful day Mrs. Baker!
8/13/2014 23:51:56Neill-SwiechMichelleI'm confused about the family tree here. Help?
What's a bulwark?
"Sometimes at pagan shrines they vowed that the soul will find an ultimate home "among the steadfast
offerings to idols, swore oaths ones," this primal human emotion has been transmuted into
that the killer of souls might come to their aid something less "zero at the bone," more metaphysically tem-
and save the people. That was their way, pered.
their heathenish hope; deep in their hearts A similar transposition from a plane of regard which is, as it
they remembered hell."

This is pulled from the PDF, so there is no page number. However, I really enjoyed the aesthetic of the words.
no thank you :^)
8/13/2014 14:37:39Rigo de Righi Dante1. What do they mean by "balm In bed". Line 63. any of the people in the story believe in this god?
"The fortunes of war favored hrothgar. Friends and kinsmen flocked to his ranks, young followers, a force that grew to be a mighty army."65No
8/13/2014 20:58:17RojasLauraWho are the people with the names that start with an H?
Do the people believe in God?
He announced his plan; to sail the swan'a road and search out that king, the famous prince who needed defenders. (Lines 199-201)NO
8/13/2014 22:29:03saulJordanI found that this story skips around a lot, not in time but topic wise, it's that on purpose? And what exactly did the first opening paragraph mean?"He was numb with grief, but got no respite" I chose this because it represents will power over emotionsNah.
8/13/2014 22:23:07SmithSarahWhy is there no mention of a name for the daughter of Halfdane?
Why are ships usually referred to as female (she)?
"Sad lays were sung about the beset king, the vicious raids and revenges of Grendel, his long and unrelenting feud, nothing but war; how he would never parely or make peace with any Dane nor stop his death-dealing nor pau the death-price" (151-156). I liked these lines because I felt like they helped explain how other people felt about Grendel and his attacks, and how it felt like Grendel would never stop, and couldn't be bargained into stopping either.What is a counsellor? Or is it even different from a counselor?
8/13/2014 20:27:31SnowZachary1. Did Shield Sheafson die and if so, how?
2. Why didn't Grendel kill everyone at once? Why does he consistently attack and leave survivors?
until finally one, a fiend out of hell, began to work his evil in the world. Grendel was the name of this grim demon haunting the marches, marauding round the heath and the desolate fens;(lines 100-104). I like these lines because the description of Grendel is interesting and dark. I also like the use of the word fiend because it instantly tells the reader about the characters bad personality.No thanks
8/13/2014 21:32:24TehanOhhiThe introduction worked itself out to be a really lovely, detailed setting-up for the plot and conflict itself. You were right, this is actually excellent writing. Such world-building.

I was fairly certain that Shield's son Beow would turn out to be our protagonist Beowulf himself, so that was an interesting turn of events. We haven't officially met our hero yet in the assigned text, and the suspense is kind of killing me.
"... but the throne itself, the treasure-seat, he was kept from approaching; he was the Lord's outcast." (168-169) This is an altogether interesting time in history given the mingling of Christianity and northern paganism. There are many lines that exemplify this, and I thought this one was kind of a gem.

"... Oh, cursed is he who in time of trouble has to thrust his soul in the fire's embrace, forfeiting help; he has nowhere to turn..." (183-186) Another interesting juxtaposition, it's almost as though they're saying that the people are defenseless against Grendel because they lack Capital "G" God.
I am all over this literature. Thank you.
8/13/2014 16:54:36VarsogeaSpock (Katie)On the first page, I was struck by the word "tholed". Now, is this a combination of the words "thought" and "led" or something? Because I have never heard "tholed" used in context. Is it a misspelling? Also, why is there so much focus on heritage? Everyone and their father is named in this story, and it seems odd that they'd talk about the deeds of the father instead of the deeds of the son. Where is all this going?"All were endangered; young and old were hunted down by that dark death-shadow who lurked and swooped in the long nights on the misty moors; nobody knows where these reavers from hell roam on their errands." (160-163)
Fascinating description.
I've visited moorlands myself, and have been up in the mistier sections of Scotland on stormy nights and can personally convey how absolutely frightening they are. I'll digress and share a story. During my family's visit to Scotland, we stayed in a bed and breakfast in a tiny, windy town just around the lower portion of Loch Ness. I'm fascinated by cryptids, so of course I loved it there. My brother Nikolas and I stayed in a building adjacent to the main house, where my parents slept on the second floor with my younger siblings. One night, when the wind was particularly bad, I got the sudden, inexplicable and irrefutable urge to explore. I seem to get a lot more courageous when I make decisions myself. So, on that dark night, I opened the door to the outside and crept through the howling wind up into the dark main house, where I looked out the window onto the Loch. It was absolutely petrifying. There's something about areas of the moorlands and places in Scotland that just freeze your heart and still your blood in your veins, especially when everyone around you is fast asleep and you can feel your heartbeat in your ears as you do something rash and stupid.
Historical importance, BAH. Star Wars revolutionized film but Mark Hamill's acting is still abysmal and the plot isn't coherent.
I don't think I'm going to enjoy Beowulf much. I'm not one to be won over by feats of strength or hardheadedness. And it seems like that's going to be a theme.
8/13/2014 17:44:18ZentmyerRyanWhat is a thane?

In this sense, what does "torques" mean?
"Behavior that's admired is the path to power among people everywhere." (25)No, thank you. :)
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