2Question 1 Alliteration: smashing and slashing and stabbing Kennings: “hammer-forged” and “boar-headed”These, as well as adjectives such as “bloody” and “gleaming” show the violence of this encounter.
3Question 2Descriptive images that link Grendel’s mother’s home to the concepts of death and darkness include the mist “Steams like black clouds.” The trees have “snakelike roots” that help keep the water dark. The lake “burns like a torch.” The lake appears to be bottomless. Animals would rather die than jump into the water. The waves are “black.”The lake could symbolize the underworld or hell.
4Question 3Grendel’s mother inadvertently gives Beowulf an advantage by taking him into her hall and unwittingly protects him from the other sea creatures that are attacking him.
5Question 4The battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother shows him suffering several disadvantages. His sword and helmet are both useless; Grendel’s mother overpowers him and throws him to the floor. He is saved from death only by his mail shirt. He uses a “magic” sword from Grendel’s mother’s home to kill her.However, in both battles Beowulf fights alone.
6Question 5Beowulf’s ability to wield the sword shows that he has extraordinary strength because he can pull it from its sheath and use it to behead Grendel’s mother even though the sword is “so massive that no ordinary man could lift/Its carved and decorated length.”
7Question 6Images of light – The “brilliant light” suggests he has overcome darkness and triumphed over evil.Beowulf cutting off Grendel’s head symbolizes his supremacy over the monster to eliminate all doubt, and to reassure the Danes they are safe. The source of evil has been destroyed by good.
8Question 7The value of fame is shown in the old men’s comments that Beowulf lost life and fame in his defeat at the hands of Grendel’s mother. The value of loyalty is shown in the vigil kept by the Geats, who refuse to believe that Beowulf won’t return to them.The poet uses shifts in setting to heighten the drama. In lines , the audience is taken from the bottom of the lake to the surface, where the Danes and Geats anxiously await, fearing the worst when they see the surging waves and blood. Then the action returns to the depths where the sword is melting and Beowulf is completing his task. These shifts intensify the audiences eagerness to have the Danes and Geats learn of the battle’s outcome.
9Question 8Beowulf has metaphorically restored order to nature. He has restored light to darkness. This reinforces the theme of good triumphing over evil.
10Question 9Beowulf is superior to all others. It takes four men to carry Grendel’s skull back to Herot; Beowulf is able to hold it by the hair to show Hrothgar.