Beowulf Cheat Sheet

1. Weapons serve as the tools that the soldiers must use
> to do their job: killing beasts or men without getting
> killed. As a artist may be fond of his paintbrush, the
> soldiers greatly cherish their weapons. Often a weapon is
> valued for its pedigree. The author often interrupts action
> to delve into a weaponas previous owners and its history.

> In the introduction, Burton Raffel states, aThe important
> tools, in this poem, are weapons: proven swords and helmets
> are handed down from father to son, like the vital
> treasures they were. Swords have personalities, and names:
> a (xi)
> Beowulf uses Hrothgaras helmet and armor to protect
> him from serpentsa claws while he descends into the lake to
> meet Grendelas mother. The helmet is said to a block all
> battle swords, stop all blades from cutting at
> hima(1451-53) However, the monster bites holes in it.

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> Grendelsa mother is frustrated by the almost impenetrable
> armor. She atried to work her fingers through the tight
> ring-woven mail on his breast, but tore and scratched in
> vain.a (1503-05)
> Hrunting is the sword that Unferth lends Beowulf for
> the battle against Grendelas mother. Hrunting is a lucky
> sword, aNo one whoad worn it into battle, swung it in
> dangerous places, daring and brave, had ever been
> deserted-a(1459-1461) However, Hrunting is useless against
> Grendelas mother, although no swords made by mortals would
> have pierced the monsteras skin. It takes a sword ahammered
> by giants, strong and blessed with their magica (1557-1559)
> that Beowulf finds hanging on the wall to cut through the
> monsteras neck. The monsteras blood melts the sword but
> Beowulf brings the sword hilt to Hrothgar as a gift.

> In the battle against the dragon Beowulf uses a sword
> named Nagling. It first cracks against the tough dragon
> skin and then breaks to pieces against the dragonas head.

> Once again, ahis weapon had failed him, deserted him, now
> when he needed it mosta. Although the iron shield is
> somewhat effective against the dragonas scalding breath,
> throughout the poem Beowulf is little aided in battle by a
> weapon. The author suggests that ahis hands were too
> strong, the hardest blade could not help him, the most
> wonderfully worked.a (2681-2684) Instead of swords or armor
> Beowulf is most aided by his strength, stamina, and
> courage.
> Wiglaf has better luck with weapons. Although his
> yellow wooden shield is quickly turned to ashes, his sword
> is successful. The author explores the swordas pedigree in
> depth. It is described as aan ancient weapon that had once
> belonged to Onelaas Nephew, and that Wextan had won,a After
> Wiglafas sword sinks in the monster Beowulf uses his
> abattle sharp daggera (2703) to split the dragon in half.

> Thus, the men have triumphed over beast yet again, a feat
> that could not have been accomplished without hammered iron
> and steel to puncture the enemy.

> Weapons are also used in the poem as opulent gifts, the
> equivalent of treasure. On Shildas burial ship, at the
> beginning of the poem, mail, armor, and swords are heaped
> up next to the corpse. After Beowulf kills Grendel Hrothgar
> gives him a helmet, ancient sword, and coat of mail Shortly
> before Beowulf dies from his injuries acquired from the
> battle with the dragon he states, aIad leave my armor to my
> son, now if god had given me an heir.a (2729-30) Instead
> Beowulf gives his armor to Wiglaf, athe last of all our
> far-flung family.a (2813) This slightly wistfull tone
> displays Beowulfas feelings toward weapons, not as
> inanimate objects, but precious life-savings material best
> passed down from generation to generation. In this passage,
> as well as throughout Beowulf the use of weapons showcases
> thier imporatnce in Anglo-Saxon culture.

> 2. Personification gives animals, ideas, or inanimate
> objects human characteristics. All of the monsters in
> Beowulf display human emotions. Grendel is jealous of the
> revelry and happiness at Herot. Later, when he is losing
> the battle with Beowulf, the author states that Grendelas
> amind was flooded with fear.a (753). After Grendelas death,
> his mother mourns, a Sheas brooded on her loss, misery had
> brewed in her heart,a (1257-58) It is this sadness that
> prods Grendelas mother to seek revenge against the humans.

> The dragon is enraged because of the theft of its jeweled
> cup. This causes him to seek revenge by burning down the
> homes of the Geats. The author does not solely reserve
> personification for the monsters. Hrothgar lectures Beowulf
> and tells him a story about a man whose pride agrows in his
> heart, planted quietly but flourishinga (1740-41) Later,
> Hrothgar will die because aage had stolen his strengtha
> (1886)
> Alliteration is the repetition of consonant or vowel
> sounds. Alliteration is most noticeable when spoken aloud.

> In the Afterward,(127) Robert P. Creed states, aPoetry was
> the proper accompaniment of feasts and celebrations. It was
> not only sung aLoud in that hall,a it was also created
> aloud in the hall.a This Anglo-Saxon tradition of reading
> poetry aloud can explain the heavy use of alliteration in
> the original text. One example is ahwilum hilde-deor
> hearpan wynnea. In the translated edition Burton Raffel
> uses a more subtle style, although alliteration can still
> be easily found on every page. An example is the
> description of Hrothgar playing a harp and how he astroked
> its silvery stringsa (2108)
> Kenning is the use of figurative phrases instead of a
> simple noun. Instead of just saying ship the author might
> use athe ringed prowa, the asea-farera, or athe bent-necked
> wooda. The dragon is refered to as a atwilight-spoilera and
> awhale-roada is an ocean. A king or important noble is
> called a aring-givera many times throughout the poem.

> There are several similes is the poem. One example is
> the description of Grendelas claws as anails as hard as
> bright steela (985) Another simile poetically depicts the
> Geats journey stating, aThe ship foamed through the sea
> like a birda (218).

> An Epithet is an identifying repeating adjective used
> to take the place of a personas name. The kenning term
> ring-giver is an epithet. Patronymics, a specific type of
> Epithet, is the naming of people in terms