Kennings and Other Elements
(Definitions, Identifications, and Explanations of Terms in the Passage)

CHARACTERS

Grendel's Mother - She is a woman with character. She is a beast with claws who fights pretty well. She is vicious
and ill-tempered. All she wants is to avenge the death of her son killed by Beowulf. Sometimes she is called a
Troll-wife. She dwells at the bottom of a mere in a cave.

Beowulf - He is strong; he is able to lift that which only four men can lift together - Grendel's head). Besides the
head, he is able to lift the sword made by and for giants and fight with it. He is resolute, does not lose his
coolness even though he is weaponless. He is pious, assigns all his victories to God's help. He is son of
Ecgtheow, nephew of Hygelac, and later king of the Geats.



KENNINGS





















PAGAN/ CHRISTIAN ELEMENTS AND IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS

PAGAN

"to earn him lasting fame" - refers to pagan idea of fame when the warrior fights a foe, who is very powerful,
alone because this way his fame will be greater, despite advises of others to fight the foe in larger numbers.
"the bairn to avenged" - vendetta is against Christian teaching.
"the tossing waters turbid grew, blood-stained the mere" - a pagan omen.
"safe saw in combat downfall of demons" - "vengeance (revenge) is mine" says the Lord. Christian belief: Don't
avenge - revenge is up to God. Here we see that purpose of life is to avenge.


CHRISTIAN

"holy God" - reference to monotheism indicative of Christianity.
"wisest Maker, The Lord of Heaven" - reference to monotheism indicative of Christianity.
"wielding all seasons and times: the true God he!" - single God, superior God who is above all.
KENNING
MEANING
Light-of-battle
Sword
Fighting-gear,
battle-gear
Body armor
Battle-sweat
Blood
Hilt
Handle
Life would have ended
[...] under wide earth

Would have
died
the whale road
the sea
heaven's candle
the sun
Mere
Lake, pond,
swamp