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Beowulf Test
The following test assesses your knowledge and understanding of Beowulf. Read all
the questions carefully and select the letter that best answers the question.
Part I: Vocabulary
a) valor
b) malice
c) purge
d) lair
e) solace
1. Most foils are characters included in a story so that their _______________________ can
stand out as a lesson on how NOT to behave when compared to a hero’s actions.
2. It seems most “superheroes” act to ______________________ the world of dangerous villains
so it can be a safer place.
3. The soldier received the highest award for his ______________________ when he bravely
faced terrible odds while in battle.
4. It seems odd that _______________________ is a word with a negative connotation when it
is actually a place where an animal goes to be alone, to feel safe and comfortable.
5. Many lonely people find _______________________ in reading a good book that allows their
mind to escape to another world or adventure, even if just for a little while.
Part II: Multiple Choice
6. Which of the following does NOT describe the time of the Anglo-Saxon period?
7. What civilization claimed Briton and, in doing so, introduced cities, roads, written
scholarship, and Christianity?
Angles and Saxons
8. Which of these is FALSE about an epic?
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.
9. In what language was Beowulf originally written?
a) Old English
b) Middle English
c) Victorian English
d) Standard English
10. 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”
11. What is the name of the hall built by King Hrothgar?
a) Herot
b) Hrunting
c) Higlac
d) Scylding
12. How are 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.
13. What biblical figure is Grendel connected to?
a) David
b) Hrothgar
c) Unferth
d) Cain
14. Besides the noise of their merrymaking what is another probable reason Grendel
wanted to hurt the Danes?
a) They had built their hall on his land.
b) He had been banished by both God and men.
c) Hrothgar was his father.
d) They had attacked his mother.
15. 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.
16. What is the prior connection between King Hrothgar and Beowulf?
a) King Hrothgar paid a debt once for Beowulf’s father.
c) Beowulf is a friend of King Hrothgar’s sons.
b) King Hrothgar and King Hygelac are brothers.
d) Beowulf is in love with King Hrothgar’s daughter.
17. Why does Unferth bring up Beowulf’s swimming match with Brecca?
a) He is trying to convince Hrothgar of Beowulf’s skills.
b) He is jealous of Beowulf and trying to make him look bad.
c) He was present at the race and thought Beowulf cheated.
d) He knows the fight against Grendel’s mother will be underwater.
18. A character like Unferth is called a ___________?
a) Protagonist
b) Sidekick
c) Foil
d) Stock character.
19. 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
20. Why does Beowulf fight Grendel without a sword?
He doesn’t want his king to think he’s a coward.
Grendel doesn’t use any weapons, so it wouldn’t be fair.
He knew about Grendel’s magical spell making weapons useless.
Both A and B
All of the above
21. 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.
22. Why does Hrothgar ask Beowulf to battle Grendel’s mother?
a) All his soldiers were just killed during her attack.
b) He is embarrassed that he allowed the men to return to the hall to sleep.
c) He has never expected his own men to be able to kill a monster.
d) She murdered someone Hrothgar cared about and carried off Grendel’s clawed
arm, so he wants to be sure she is destroyed.
23. What is so fantastical about Beowulf’s journey to her lair?
a) Beowulf is able to stay alive under water for what seems like hours.
b) Other sea monsters join them, 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.
24. How does Grendel’s mother die?
a) Beowulf kills her with a giant’s sword he found in the lair.
b) Wiglaf helps defeat the monster with his bare hands.
c) King Hrothgar shoots an arrow.
d) Grendel’s mother dies of a broken heart.
25. What did Beowulf do to Grendel’s body when he found it in his mother’s lair?
a) Gave it a proper burial.
b) Burned it to ensure it was gone for good.
c) Prayed over it, sending it to hell.
d) Cut off its head and brought it to Hrothgar as a trophy.
26. 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.
27. How many years later is it when Beowulf is faced with wanting to kill a dragon?
a) 20 years
b) 50 years
c) 10 years
d) 25 years
28. 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.
29. In what way does Beowulf’s sword fail him during the fight?
a) It has a spell on it so that it can’t hurt the dragon.
b) It breaks apart when striking the dragons scales and continues to break a bit
more with each strike.
c) The dragon is able to melt the sword with its fiery breath.
d) Beowulf drops the sword and it stays out of his reach during the fight.
30. Why does Wiglaf fight the dragon along with Beowulf?
a) He didn’t want Beowulf to get all of the glory.
b) He lost a bet with the other men.
c) He respected Beowulf and knew his king needed help.
d) He had a magical sword that could pierce dragon scales.
31. What does Beowulf ask Wiglaf to do for him before he dies?
a) He wants him to bring him back some of the treasure kept by the dragon.
b) He wants Wiglaf to be sure the dragon is dead.
c) He asks Wiglaf to take over as king and lecture the cowardly men.
d) He wants Wiglaf to remember this story to tell to others so they won’t forget.
32. 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.
33. 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
d) He will most likely be their king so he needed to begin to lecture them.
34. What does every warrior know is inevitable?
a) death
b) bravery
c) marriage
d) treasure
35. Kennings were used in Beowulf partly because of the poem’s______.
a) oral storytelling origins
b) slow-moving storyline
c) use as an educational tool
d) requirement to rhyme
36. The following passage from Beowulf is an example of the poem’s heavy use of_______.
In secret sessions, talking of terror
And wondering what the bravest warriors would do
And sometimes they sacrificed to the old stone gods
And made heathen vows, hoping for hells
a) Alliteration
b) Metaphor
c) Simile
d) Rhyme
37. 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.
38.) 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 spells of some sort.
d) Both A and B
e) All of the above
39. Which of following is the best theme of this story?
a) Great strength makes things right.
b) Intelligence is greater than strength.
c) Valor will triumph over evil.
d) A king must be wealthy.
40. How was Beowulf honored by his men after his death?
a) They had a feast in his honor.
b) They forgave those who were responsible.
c) They divided his newest treasure among themselves.
d) They rode around his tower praising his heroism.
Part III: Short Answer – Half a page response
Some readers view Beowulf as a tale about a boastful glory seeker. Others see Beowulf
as a noble, selfless hero story. In a short but well written response, defend which of
these views is the most accurate according to your interpretation of the poem. You
should support your comments by referring to specific actions and events from the