Possible Essay Questions on Beowulf
1. Compare the Christian and Pagan symbols throughout the story. Be sure to include examples from the characters and the
2. What is a comiatatus bond? In what places in Beowulf do you see example of it? How is it different in Hrothegar’s
kingdom and in Beowulf’s kingdom?
3. Compare the parallel structure of Hrothegar and Beowulf.
4. There are differing opinions on who wrote Beowulf. One is that multiple authors wrote it. Another is that a pagan wrote
it and later on a Christian added parts to it. The last is that a pagan who was coming into Christianity wrote it. Which do
you believe it is? Show support from the text.
5. Pick one of the monsters (Grendal, Grendal’s Dam, or the Dragon) and tell your view on events from their
Be sure to review all of the characters especially Beowulf, Hrothegar, Unferth, and Wiglaf. Know the themes we discussed
in class. Also know the plot of the story and how it developed and played out.
Sir Gawain Essay Questions
1. Describe the pentacle and the 5 things it is meant to symbolize. Why is this so important to Sir Gawain?
2. Describe the 3 days Sir Gawain spent at Bertilak’s castle. What were the 3 animals the lord hunted and what
were the 3 things Sir Gawain received? How do the two compare?
3. Pick 3 sets of opposites we discussed in class and describe their importance to the story.
4. Compare sections 2 and 3 and how they run parallel to each other. Give lots of details!
5. If you were Sir Gawain would you have reacted the same way he did? Pick a situation such as when the green knight makes
the challenge, when the mistress of the household tries to seduce Gawain, or when Gawain hides the girdle, and tell what you
would do in his place and why.
Be sure to study the characters. Know the plot and how it developed and played out. Be able to tell the significance of
Morgan la Faye and the Arthurian legend. As always class remember lots of detail!!