Lines 1,888–2,220 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What does Beowulf give the boat watcher?

2. How are the Geats greeted once they arrive home?

3. What is the story of Thrith?

4. Why didn’t Higlac initially allow Beowulf to go to Hrothgar’s aid when they first heard of the monsters threatening Herot?

5. What is Beowulf’s opinion of Hrothgar’s plan concerning Ingeld and Freaw?

6. What is the heritage of the gifts Beowulf gives Higlac from Hrothgar?

7. What gift does Higlac bestow upon Beowulf?

8. At what point in the family lineage does Beowulf agree to assume the throne of Geatland?

9. How long does Beowulf rule peacefully?

10. What breaks the peace during Beowulf’s kingship?

1. Beowulf gives the man who watched their boat a sword with hammered gold wound around its handle as a reward for staying behind during their battles and to honor him for this sacrifice.

2. Upon arriving home, the Geats are greeted by joyous harbor guards who have been waiting and watching for their arrival for days. It is they who anchor and moor the boat, then carry the treasures it holds to Higlac’s home.

3. Thrith is a princess who used her vicious tongue to accuse people she disliked of wrong-doing, which led to their arrest and, then, death. Her marriage to Offa eventually ended this injustice.

4. Higlac fears for his nephew, Beowulf, when first he hears of the monsters in Denmark, and prevents him from going to fight them. The stories of Hrothgar’s misery move him but he allows the Danes to fight their own battle until it is clear Beowulf is needed. Even at this point, he thinks he might never again behold his nephew once he does depart.

5. Beowulf thinks Hrothgar’s plan to marry his daughter, Freaw, to Ingeld in order to end the feud between the two peoples is a poor one. He is not opposed to Freaw marrying an older man, but fears that Ingeld’s people—the Hathobards—will see the Danes wearing certain pieces of armor and remember that this armor once belonged to their people, which may lead a drunken Hathobard to bait a young Dane into battle due to this unexpressed bitterness. One battle is all it will take to begin a chain reaction of other battles and the war will recommence.

6. Beowulf gives Hrothgar’s boarhead banner, helmet, ancient armor, and gold-carved sword to Higlac, explaining to him that they were first Hergar’s—Hrothgar’s older brother who held the throne until his death when Hrothgar replaced him. Hergar had refused to give them to his son, Herward, so they stayed with the throne.

7. Higlac gives Beowulf a sword worked in gold which had belonged to his father. Since Beowulf is Higlac’s nephew, Higlac’s father was Beowulf’s grandfather. It is supposedly the best sword in Geatland.

8. Beowulf agrees to assume the throne of Geatland only when both his uncle, Higlac, and Higlac’s son, Herdred—the next in line to be king after Higlac—die, although he is offered the throne upon Higlac’s death.

9. Once accepting the kingship, Beowulf rules peacefully for 50 years and is considered a wise king.

10. Beowulf’s peaceful rule is broken by a thief who stumbles upon a dragon’s tower and steals one of his treasures, not only waking the dragon, but angering him as well.

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