Lines 836–1,250 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Why do the crowds come to Herot?

2. What is the song of Siegmund?

3. Who is Hermod?

4. How does Hrothgar express his gratitude to Beowulf?

5. How does Beowulf describe the battle with Grendel when speaking to Hrothgar?

6. What is the song of Finn?

7. What is it Welthow tells Hrothgar when the songs are finished?

8. What does she say to Beowulf?

9. What is to happen to Herot once this feast is over?

10. What are the soldiers’ sleeping arrangements?

1. The crowds come to Herot in order to trace Grendel’s path from Herot to the edge of the lake in which he had his den. The water is still bloody and swirling, which delights the crowds since this confirms his death.

2. The song of Siegmund is about another dragon slayer who earns glory by single-handedly pinning a dragon to the wall of its own lair. The dragon dissolves in its own blood and Siegmund is rewarded with treasures and fame.

3. Hermod, as we are told in lines 899–911, is born a king, but “pride and defeat and betrayal” are his lot after he continuously ignores his people’s wishes and wise men’s warnings. He rules by his own vanity, which leads to misery for all and, ultimately, his death.

4. Hrothgar commands that Herot be cleansed and another feast be held, at which Beowulf is toasted, the object of the new poems being created, praised by Welthow and Hrothgar, and given even more gifts: a coat of mail, a helmet, a golden banner, an ancient sword, eight golden bridled horses (one bearing the jeweled saddle Hrothgar had used for war), golden armbands, a beautiful necklace, and other jewels.

5. Beowulf tells Hrothgar how he tried to kill Grendel by ripping his claw off, but that Grendel fled from him, leaving his claw, arm, and shoulder behind. He says Grendel ran in fear and that he, Beowulf, wishes he had the monster’s body in Herot to show to Hrothgar.

6. The song of Finn relates how Finn attacked his wife’s people with no warning, killing her brother (the king of Denmark) and son in the battle. Finn’s troops were half decimated, so he forced the Danes into a peace treaty which provided each group with half the kingdoms. Because he killed Hnaf, their king, they secretly swore revenge—which they achieved by murdering him after a year of living with Finn in his land. This led to the destruction of all Finn’s land and possessions and the kidnapping of his queen.

7. Welthow tells Hrothgar to be a generous king and to be grateful to Beowulf. She assures him that his nephew, Hrothulf, will protect their sons, Hrethric and Hrothmund, when death finally takes him, just as Hrothgar and Welthow had protected and given a home to Hrothulf when his father died.

8. Welthow tells Beowulf to enjoy his gifts and to let his fame and strength grow. She implores him to think kindly of her sons and extend his protection to them. She is emphatic about there being peace and loyalty in Herot.

9. Once the feast is over, Herot is to revert to its original purpose: to be the meadhall and living quarters of Hrothgar’s troops.

10. The soldiers sleep with their shields at the ends of their pillows, helmets near their heads, spears near their hands, and wearing their mail shirts while laying on blankets and pillows spread on the floor which the benches for the feast had occupied.

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