Beowulf Quiz - Learn About This Epic Poem

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Beowulf Quiz - Learn About This Epic Poem - Quiz

Beowulf is an Old English epic poem in the tradition of Germanic heroic legend consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is one of the most important and most often translated works of Old English literature. Check out the quiz and test your knowledge in the field on English literature here!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    1. Which of the following does NOT describe the Anglo-Saxon period?

    • A.

      Barbarism

    • B.

      Romanticism

    • C.

      Ignorance

    • D.

      Violence

    Correct Answer
    B. Romanticism
    Explanation
    The Anglo-Saxon period is known for its barbarism, ignorance, and violence, but it does not align with the concept of Romanticism. Romanticism is characterized by a focus on emotions, individualism, and the beauty of nature. The Anglo-Saxon period, on the other hand, was marked by a lack of sophistication, a focus on war and conquest, and a disregard for artistic and intellectual pursuits. Therefore, Romanticism does not describe the Anglo-Saxon period.

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  • 2. 

    Which of these is FALSE the poem?

    • A.

      ​​​​​​An epic celebrates a hero’s deeds.

    • B.

      An epic is a short story

    • C.

      The earliest epic tales survived as oral traditions

    • D.

      Many epics were based on historical fact

    Correct Answer
    B. An epic is a short story
  • 3. 

    In what language was Beowulf originally written?

    • A.

      Old English

    • B.

      Middle English

    • C.

      Victorian English

    • D.

      Standard English

    Correct Answer
    A. Old English
    Explanation
    Beowulf was originally written in Old English. This is because Beowulf is an epic poem that dates back to the 8th century and was written in the language that was spoken in England at that time. Old English is characterized by its use of Germanic vocabulary and grammatical structures. Middle English, on the other hand, came into use after the Norman Conquest in 1066, and Victorian English and Standard English are much later forms of the language. Therefore, Old English is the correct answer.

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  • 4. 

    Which of the following is NOT an example of a kenning?

    • A.

      "helpless people"

    • B.

      "the almighty's enemy"

    • C.

      “sin-stained demon"

    • D.

      “hell’s captive"

    Correct Answer
    A. "helpless people"
  • 5. 

    Which is the hall built by King Hrothgar?

    • A.

      Herot

    • B.

      Hrunting

    • C.

      Hygelac

    • D.

      Scylding

    Correct Answer
    A. Herot
    Explanation
    Herot is the hall built by King Hrothgar. This is evident from the context of the question which asks for the hall built by King Hrothgar, and Herot is the only option that fits this criteria. The other options, Hrunting, Hygelac, and Scylding, do not refer to halls but rather to a sword, a king, and a tribe respectively. Therefore, the correct answer is Herot.

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  • 6. 

    How were the Danes tortured for 12 years?

    • A.

      They are at war with the Geats

    • B.

      Grendel’s mother is threatening them with revenge

    • C.

      Grendel continues killing each night keeping them out of their hall

    • D.

      The warriors are not able to use their weapons against the monsters

    Correct Answer
    C. Grendel continues killing each night keeping them out of their hall
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that Grendel continues killing each night, keeping the Danes out of their hall. This suggests that Grendel is terrorizing the Danes and preventing them from feeling safe and secure in their own space. Grendel's attacks are ongoing and relentless, causing fear and chaos among the Danes for a period of 12 years.

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  • 7. 

    What biblical figure is Grendel connected to?

    • A.

      David

    • B.

      Hrothgar

    • C.

      Unferth

    • D.

      Cain

    Correct Answer
    D. Cain
    Explanation
    Cain is the correct answer because in the epic poem Beowulf, Grendel is described as a descendant of Cain. This connection is made to portray Grendel as a monstrous and evil character, as Cain is famously known for committing the first murder in the Bible. Grendel's lineage from Cain adds to the theme of sin and evil in the story, emphasizing the moral conflict between good and evil that Beowulf must overcome.

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  • 8. 

    What proof does Beowulf offer that he is up to the challenge of killing Grendel?

    • A.

      He tells stories of his previous battles with men and monsters

    • B.

      He challenges King Hrothgar to a fight

    • C.

      He pulls a sword from a stone

    • D.

      He offers none, just his help

    Correct Answer
    A. He tells stories of his previous battles with men and monsters
    Explanation
    Beowulf offers proof of his capability to kill Grendel by recounting his past victories in battles against both humans and monsters. By sharing these stories, Beowulf demonstrates his experience, strength, and courage, which suggests that he is well-prepared and capable of facing the challenge of killing Grendel. This evidence of his previous successes builds credibility and confidence in his abilities, making him a suitable candidate for the task.

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  • 9. 

    A character like Unferth is called a    ?

    • A.

      Protagonist

    • B.

      Sidekick

    • C.

      Foil

    • D.

      Stock character

    Correct Answer
    C. Foil
    Explanation
    A character like Unferth is called a foil because they are used to contrast and highlight the qualities of the main character, in this case, the protagonist. Unferth's characteristics, actions, or beliefs may be in direct contrast to the protagonist's, emphasizing their strengths or weaknesses. By providing a stark contrast, Unferth's character helps to develop a deeper understanding of the protagonist and their journey throughout the story.

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  • 10. 

    When used to describe Beowulf, the phrase “the ruler of warriors” is called what?

    • A.

      A symbol

    • B.

      A kenning

    • C.

      A simile

    • D.

      A greeting

    Correct Answer
    B. A kenning
    Explanation
    In Beowulf, the phrase "the ruler of warriors" is referred to as a kenning. A kenning is a figurative expression or compound word used in Old English poetry to replace a common noun. It often involves the combination of two words to create a metaphorical description. In this case, "the ruler of warriors" is a kenning used to describe Beowulf, emphasizing his leadership and prowess in battle.

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  • 11. 

    How does Grendel die?

    • A.

      Beowulf stabbed him with a sword called Hrunting

    • B.

      Beowulf uses a giant’s weapon that is enchanted with magic to slice his arm off

    • C.

      He is stabbed by Beowulf’s knife

    • D.

      As he tears out of Beowulf’s grasp he is severely injured and returns to the marsh to bleed to death

    Correct Answer
    D. As he tears out of Beowulf’s grasp he is severely injured and returns to the marsh to bleed to death
    Explanation
    Grendel dies as he tears out of Beowulf's grasp and is severely injured. He then returns to the marsh where he bleeds to death. This explanation suggests that Grendel's injuries from his encounter with Beowulf are so severe that he is unable to survive and succumbs to his wounds.

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  • 12. 

    What is so fantastical about Beowulf's journey to Grendel's mother's lair??

    • A.

      Beowulf is able to stay alive under water for what seems like hours

    • B.

      Other sea monsters join him, biting on Beowulf

    • C.

      Beowulf is able to find and use a giant’s sword against the monster

    • D.

      Both A and B

    • E.

      All of the above

    Correct Answer
    E. All of the above
    Explanation
    In Beowulf's journey to Grendel's mother's lair, there are several fantastical elements. First, Beowulf is able to stay alive underwater for what seems like hours, which is an extraordinary feat. Additionally, other sea monsters join him and bite on Beowulf, showcasing his incredible strength and resilience. Finally, Beowulf is able to find and use a giant's sword against the monster, demonstrating his exceptional bravery and skill in battle. Therefore, all of the above options contribute to the fantastical nature of Beowulf's journey to Grendel's mother's lair.

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  • 13. 

    How does Grendel’s mother die?

    • A.

      Wiglaf helps defeat the monster with his bare hands

    • B.

      Beowulf kills her with a giant’s sword he found in the lair

    • C.

      King Hrothgar shoots an arrow

    • D.

      Grendel’s mother dies of a broken heart

    Correct Answer
    B. Beowulf kills her with a giant’s sword he found in the lair
    Explanation
    Beowulf kills Grendel's mother with a giant's sword he found in the lair. This is the correct answer because in the epic poem Beowulf, after Grendel's mother attacks Heorot Hall and takes one of Hrothgar's closest advisors, Beowulf vows to avenge the attack. He dives into the lake where Grendel's mother lives and discovers a giant's sword. With this sword, Beowulf is able to slay Grendel's mother and bring an end to her reign of terror.

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  • 14. 

    How did Hrothgar reward Beowulf?

    • A.

      He passed his crown over to him

    • B.

      He sang a song in his honor

    • C.

      He gave him treasures and gold

    • D.

      He offered his daughter’s hand in marriage

    Correct Answer
    C. He gave him treasures and gold
    Explanation
    Hrothgar rewarded Beowulf by giving him treasures and gold. This shows that Hrothgar valued Beowulf's bravery and accomplishments and wanted to show his appreciation by giving him valuable gifts.

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  • 15. 

    Why does the dragon attack the Geats?

    • A.

      He needs food and desires human blood

    • B.

      He is not being worshiped anymore

    • C.

      A thief had stolen a cup from out of his treasure

    • D.

      He is lonesome like Grendel

    Correct Answer
    C. A thief had stolen a cup from out of his treasure
    Explanation
    The dragon attacks the Geats because a thief had stolen a cup from his treasure. This implies that the dragon is angry and seeks revenge for the stolen item.

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  • 16. 

    What caused Beowulf’s death?

    • A.

      Grendel’s mother stabs him in the heart

    • B.

      He is betrayed by Unferth

    • C.

      He doesn’t die; he is taken up to the heavens to live forever

    • D.

      The dragon wounded him in the neck

    Correct Answer
    D. The dragon wounded him in the neck
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that the dragon wounded Beowulf in the neck. This injury ultimately led to his death.

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  • 17. 

    Why does Wiglaf berate the other warriors saying they are “branded with disgrace”?

    • A.

      They were trying to strike at the Dragon when Beowulf said not to

    • B.

      He was proud of their actions and how they waited in the woods as told

    • C.

      He was disgusted that they did not come to the aid of their king when he was suffering

    • D.

      He will most likely be their king so he needed to begin to lecture them

    Correct Answer
    C. He was disgusted that they did not come to the aid of their king when he was suffering
    Explanation
    Wiglaf berates the other warriors because he is disgusted that they did not come to the aid of their king when he was suffering. This shows that he values loyalty and honor, and he believes that it is disgraceful for warriors to abandon their leader in a time of need. Wiglaf's berating implies that he expects his fellow warriors to prioritize their duty to their king and to act bravely in his defense.

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  • 18. 

    What does every warrior know is inevitable?

    • A.

      Death

    • B.

      Bravery

    • C.

      Marriage

    • D.

      Treasure

    Correct Answer
    A. Death
    Explanation
    Every warrior knows that death is inevitable. In the context of warfare, warriors are constantly faced with the possibility of death. They understand that their chosen profession is inherently risky and that death is an inherent part of the job. This knowledge helps them prepare mentally and physically for the dangers they may encounter on the battlefield. Additionally, the acceptance of death as inevitable can also fuel their bravery and determination in the face of adversity.

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  • 19. 

    Which of the following is NOT one of the traits of an epic hero?

    • A.

      They are of ordinary birth

    • B.

      They exhibit traits or qualities that the society looks up to

    • C.

      They perform courageous, fantastic feats that reflect values of their society

    • D.

      Their actions affect large groups of people

    Correct Answer
    A. They are of ordinary birth
    Explanation
    The trait of being of ordinary birth is not one of the traits of an epic hero. Epic heroes are typically born into noble or divine lineages, often with special powers or abilities. Their extraordinary birth sets them apart from ordinary individuals and contributes to their heroic status.

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  • 20. 

    The story of Beowulf reflects which of the following traits of an epic story?

    • A.

      The plot and conflict involves courageous, sometimes superhuman beings

    • B.

      The theme reflects timeless values and universal ideas

    • C.

      The story must include magic or supernatural forces odf some sort

    • D.

      Both A and B

    • E.

      All of the above

    Correct Answer
    E. All of the above
    Explanation
    The story of Beowulf reflects all of the above traits of an epic story. The plot and conflict involve courageous and sometimes superhuman beings, as Beowulf is a heroic character who battles against monstrous creatures. The theme of the story reflects timeless values and universal ideas, such as the struggle between good and evil and the importance of honor and bravery. Additionally, the story includes elements of magic or supernatural forces, such as the monsters and the dragon that Beowulf faces. Therefore, all of the given options are correct.

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  • 21. 

    Which of following is the best theme of this story?

    • A.

      Great strength makes things right

    • B.

      Intelligence is greater than strength

    • C.

      Good will triumph over evil

    • D.

      A king must be wealthy

    Correct Answer
    C. Good will triumph over evil
    Explanation
    The best theme of this story is "Good will triumph over evil." This theme suggests that in the story, the forces of good will ultimately prevail over the forces of evil. It implies that positive actions, intentions, and morality will overcome negativity and wrongdoing. This theme often highlights the importance of standing up for what is right and the belief that justice will prevail in the end.

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  • 22. 

    Beowulf is

    • A.

      An epic poem

    • B.

      A lyric poem

    • C.

      A narrative poem

    • D.

      An ode

    Correct Answer
    A. An epic poem
    Explanation
    Beowulf is classified as an epic poem because it is a long narrative poem that tells the story of a hero's journey. It follows the traditional characteristics of an epic, such as a heroic protagonist, grand scale and scope, supernatural elements, and themes of heroism, bravery, and honor. The poem also explores the cultural values and ideals of the time, making it a significant piece of literature in the epic genre.

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  • 23. 

    Beowulf came from

    • A.

      Sweden

    • B.

      Denmark

    • C.

      Geatland

    • D.

      Finland

    Correct Answer
    C. Geatland
    Explanation
    Beowulf came from Geatland. This is evident from the epic poem Beowulf, which tells the story of a hero named Beowulf who comes to the aid of the Danish king, Hrothgar. Geatland, also known as Götaland, is a region in southern Sweden. Beowulf is described as a Geat, which indicates his origin from Geatland.

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  • 24. 

    Beowulf and Grendel stand respectively for

    • A.

      Bravery and cowardice

    • B.

      Saints and devils

    • C.

      Good and evil

    • D.

      Strengths and weaknesses

    Correct Answer
    C. Good and evil
    Explanation
    Beowulf and Grendel are characters from the Old English epic poem "Beowulf." Beowulf is depicted as a noble and courageous hero who fights against evil forces to protect his people, representing the concept of good. On the other hand, Grendel is a monstrous creature who terrorizes the kingdom, symbolizing evil. Therefore, the answer "good and evil" accurately represents the contrasting roles and characteristics of Beowulf and Grendel in the poem.

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  • 25. 

    Hrothgar and the men believed that Beowulf was dead when

    • A.

      Blood bubbled on the lake

    • B.

      His mail coat was found

    • C.

      A dragon appeared

    • D.

      His horn ceased

    Correct Answer
    A. Blood bubbled on the lake
    Explanation
    When blood bubbled on the lake, Hrothgar and the men believed that Beowulf was dead. This suggests that they witnessed a violent and deadly encounter, possibly a battle, where Beowulf's blood spilled into the lake. The sight of blood bubbling on the lake would have been a clear indication of his demise, leading them to believe that he had been killed.

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  • 26. 

    After slaying Grendel’s mother, Beowulf:

    • A.

      Threatened to take Heorot

    • B.

      Demanded treasure chests

    • C.

      Returned to his native land

    • D.

      Hunted other monsters

    Correct Answer
    C. Returned to his native land
    Explanation
    After slaying Grendel's mother, Beowulf returned to his native land. This is likely because his mission to defeat the monsters in Heorot was complete, and he had fulfilled his duty to protect the kingdom. Returning to his native land would also allow him to celebrate his victory and receive recognition for his heroic deeds.

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  • 27. 

    According to the Beowulf saga, the bodies of dead kings were

    • A.

      Sealed in a crypt

    • B.

      Burned on a funeral pyre

    • C.

      Sent to sea

    • D.

      Frozen

    Correct Answer
    B. Burned on a funeral pyre
    Explanation
    In the Beowulf saga, it is mentioned that the bodies of dead kings were burned on a funeral pyre. This was a common practice during that time period as a way to honor and send off the deceased. The burning of the body symbolized a purification process and allowed the soul to be released and ascend to the afterlife. It was also seen as a way to prevent the body from being defiled or desecrated by enemies. Overall, burning the body on a funeral pyre was a significant ritual in the Beowulf saga.

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  • 28. 

    As Beowulf prepared to fight the dragon, he

    • A.

      Felt afraid for the first time

    • B.

      Felt no lust for battle and seemed to sense doom

    • C.

      Prayed

    • D.

      Was depressed

    Correct Answer
    B. Felt no lust for battle and seemed to sense doom
    Explanation
    Beowulf's lack of desire for battle and his sense of impending doom indicate that he was not his usual fearless self. This suggests that he was aware of the immense danger posed by the dragon and was apprehensive about the outcome of the fight. These feelings of fear and foreboding are a departure from Beowulf's previous confidence and highlight the significance of the impending battle.

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  • 29. 

    Story tellers who roamed from village to village to share stories and collect news were

    • A.

      Scop

    • B.

      Troubador

    • C.

      Minstrel

    • D.

      Poet

    Correct Answer
    A. Scop
    Explanation
    Scop is the correct answer because in medieval times, scops were professional poets and storytellers who traveled from village to village, sharing stories, legends, and news with the people. They were highly respected and played an important role in preserving and spreading oral traditions and history. Scops were often associated with the Anglo-Saxon culture and were known for their skill in composing and reciting poetry.

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  • 30. 

    Anglo-Saxon practice of giving treasures to a thane, who then redistributes the wealth

    • A.

      Bargaining

    • B.

      Weregild

    • C.

      Comitatus

    Correct Answer
    C. Comitatus
    Explanation
    The correct answer is comitatus. Comitatus refers to the Anglo-Saxon practice of giving treasures to a thane, who then redistributes the wealth among his loyal followers. This practice was based on the idea of reciprocal loyalty and mutual protection between the lord and his warriors. The lord would provide his warriors with gifts and rewards, while the warriors would pledge their loyalty and fight for the lord in times of need. This system helped to maintain social order and strengthen the bond between the lord and his followers.

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  • 31. 

    It is believed that Beowulf was written by a monk because

    • A.

      Of the Christian themes used throughout the text

    • B.

      Only monks could read and write

    • C.

      Scandinavian people were among the first Christians

    Correct Answer
    A. Of the Christian themes used throughout the text
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that Beowulf was written by a monk because of the Christian themes used throughout the text. This is supported by the fact that the poem contains numerous references to biblical stories and Christian beliefs. Additionally, the poem portrays Christian values such as the importance of loyalty, humility, and the struggle between good and evil. These elements suggest that the author was familiar with Christian teachings and incorporated them into the story, indicating that they were likely a monk.

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  • 32. 

    Which of the following passages contain a reference to the pagan religion of the past?

    • A.

      "A powerful monster, living down in the darkness, growled in pain, impatient as day after day the music ran loud in the hall."

    • B.

      "...sailors have brought us stories of Herot, the best of all mead-halls, deserted and useless"

    • C.

      "He was spawned in slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain"

    • D.

      "And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, made heathen vows, hoping for Hell's support"

    Correct Answer
    D. "And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, made heathen vows, hoping for Hell's support"
    Explanation
    The passage "And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods, made heathen vows, hoping for Hell's support" contains a reference to the pagan religion of the past. It mentions the act of sacrificing to the old stone gods and making heathen vows, which suggests a belief in pagan deities and practices. This passage highlights the presence of a pagan religion in the past.

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