Gear of War
Doom of Glory
Illustrations from Special thanks to colleagues on the AP ListServ who shared their assignments and materials.
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The poem contains two examples of mead-halls: Hrothgar’s great hall of Heorot, in Denmark, and Hygelac’s hall in Geatland. Both function as important cultural institutions that provide light and warmth, food and drink, and singing and revelry. Historically, the mead-hall represented a safe haven for warriors returning from battle, a small zone of refuge within a dangerous and precarious external world that continuously offered the threat of attack by neighboring peoples. The mead-hall was also a place of community, where traditions were preserved, loyalty was rewarded, and, perhaps most important, stories were told and reputations were spread.
Hrothgar, Beowulf, and their men track Grendel's mother to her lair under an eerie lake. Beowulf prepares himself for battle; he is presented with a sword, Hrunting, by a warrior called Unferth, one of the Danes who had most vocally doubted Beowulf's prowess. After stipulating to Hrothgar what should be done in the event of his death, Beowulf then dives into the lake to do battle with Grendel's mother. There, he is swiftly detected and attacked by the monster. Unable to harm Beowulf through his armor, Grendel's mother drags him to the bottom of the lake. There, in a cavern containing her son's body and the remains of many men that the two have killed, Grendel's mother and Beowulf wage a ferocious battle.