How does Unferth respond when he realizes that Beowulf killed Grendel?


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Beowulf: A New Telling

Study Guide

Chapter 7

Chapter Seven:

  1. How does Unferth respond when he realizes that Beowulf killed Grendel?

Calls Beowulf a murderer. States that Grendel was beautiful.
Why do you think Unferth reacts this way? What does it show us about him?

Envy – his ingratitude comes from the fact that he couldn’t save his people.

  1. Describe Hrothgar’s response to Beowulf’s success against Grendel.

He has a hard time believing that Beowulf was successful, then begins to honor him as his hero.
Name three things that Hrothgar and the queen give to Beowulf as thanks.

a. Banner of gold

b. An unbreakable helmet

c. Sharp sword

He also provided him with eight of the swiftest horses with golden bridles and saddles with precious stones.
What is Brisingamen?

A golden collar. Some considered it to be the most perfect thing in the world.

  1. Who is Sigemund?

A prince and a great hero
Describe his physical and character traits.

He had giant strength – used only for good. He could snap chains around his neck simply by taking a deep breath.

Who is Fitela?

The nephew of Sigemund

Describe his physical and character traits.

Small, shy, afraid of his own shadow. The exact opposite to Sigemund.

  1. Describe Sigemund and Fitela’s relationship. What is each man responsible for when they performed brave deeds?

They were inseparable. Fitela could get into places – like through enemies legs – which Sigemund couldn’t. He could hang on a horsetail, getting the horse to toss the rider, and then Sigemund would finish him. Sigemund would capitalize on Fitela’s efforts to lead the enemy to defeat.

  1. In five sentences, summarize Sigemund and Fitela’s battle against the Fire Dragon.

a. Sigemund and Fitela swim to the island.

b. Fitela, waiting for Sigemund’s bubbles in the water, grabs the Dragon’s tail. The Dragon’s 4th head turned toward Fitela.
c. Sigemund seized air (1st head) and locked it with the 4th head. Saving Fitela and sending flame back down the Dragon’s throat.
d. Fitela grabbed the tail again, Sigemund gets Earth (2nd head) and rammed it into the Jams of the 4th head. Soil poured into the Dragon’ throat.
e. Fitela twists the tail; Sigemund adds the 3rd head (water) to the knot. The fire is trapped and goes into the dragon’s belly and kills him.

  1. Why did the storyteller pick this story to tell Beowulf? What is the storyteller’s point?

Because the successes of Sigemund and Fitela are tiny (fleabites) compared to Beowulf.


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