Brooke H., Meghan G., Haylee DS., Savannah F.


A kenning is a metaphorical compound word or phrase substituted for a noun or name, which enhances the meaning. Kennings are used so frequently in Beowulf that there are examples with every character. Each example of a kenning in Beowulf adds that little extra to the writing and that makes Beowulf much more interesting and exciting to read.

When Hrothgar is mentioned in Beowulf he is rarely referred to as just Hrothgar; there are countless examples of kennings for him. The kennings for Hrothgar in the chapter of Beowulf are Healfdane's son, famous king, Danes' Great King, the great king of the Danes, and Danes' great lord.

Beowulf, as we all know, is the main character and hero of Beowulf. Because Beowulf is present in all aspect of the epic he has many kennings. Some examples of a kenning for Beowulf are Higlac's Follower, Strongest of the Geats, and Protector of the Danes.

The chapter of Beowulf does not mention Grendel as often as the other chapters in Beowulf. Because of Grendel not being the main focus, there are fewer kennings of him, but there are still a couple. They are the monster and that friend.

The main characters are not the only characters that have kennings; Hergar and God also have them. My older brother is used to refer to Hergar and the lord almighty refers to God.

Archetypes in Beowulf

Beowulf the Hero

“My people have said, the wisest, most knowing And best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’ Great king. They have seen my strength for themselves, Have watched me rise from the darkness of war Dripping with my enemies’ blood.” (lines 149-153)

Beowulf represents the hero archetype in this chapter. This quote demonstrates that through his pride. Beowulf speaks of his strength and almost supernatural power, often found in heroes.

Grendel the Monster

“Of my youth have been filled with glory. Now Grendel’s Name has echoed in our land: sailors Have brought us stories of Herot, the best Of all mead-halls, deserted and useless” (lines 143-146)

Grendel is the monster of this chapter. He has caused the best mead-halls to be deserted, and he strikes terror and fear in the hearts of the greatest of King Hrothgar’s men.

Wulfgar the Loyal Sidekick

“Then Wulfgar went to the door and addressed The waiting seafarers with soldier’s words” (lines 125-126)

Wulfgar is the typical loyal sidekick for King Hrothgar. He met Beowulf, possibly a danger, to be the mediator for King Hrothgar.

What is Alliteration???

Alliteration is the repetition of constant sounds at the beginning of words. An example found in Beowulf is, " The bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen/ in all, and led them down to their boats. (120-122)."

Who did each piece of this fabulous work?

Brooke- Kenning and Photos

Haylee- Archetype

Meghan- Alliteration and Kenning

Savannah- Heroic Traits Spreadsheet

Traits of a Hero

National / International Importance

“Beowulf and his men sailed over the sea to the land of the Danes to offer help to Hrothgar” (125-126).

Brave / Strong / Superhero

“So Beowulf chose the mightiest men he could find, the bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen in all, and led them down to their boat” (120-123).

Risk-Taker / Adventurous

“I swam in the blackness of night, hunting monsters out of the ocean, and killing them one by one…” (156-159).


“Beowulf arose, with his men around him, ordering a few to remain with their weapons…” (134-136).

Side-Kick / Knight / Loyal Follower

“Beowulf you’ve come to us in friendship, and because of the reception your father found at our court.” (191-192)”

Acceptance of Fate / Destiny / Glory

“Now Grendel and I are called together, and I’ve come” (158-160).

“Let us toast your victories, and talk of the future” (224).

Heroic Deeds / Encounters

“My people have said, the wisest, most knowing and best of them, that my duty was to to the Danes’ Great King” (149-151).

Obstacles - supernatural or challenging

“My tongue grows heavy, and my heart, when I try to tell you what Grendel has brought us, the damage he’s done here” (207-210).

Rewards or Punishments

“With new light would be drenched with blood, the benches stained red, the floors, all wet from that fiend’s Savage assult- and my soldiers would be fewr still, death taking more and more” (219-223).

Journey - Quest

“They have seen my strength for themselves, Have watched me rise from the darkness of war, dripping with my enemies’ blood.” (151-153).

Wisdom Gained

“None of the wise ones regretted his going, much as he was loved by the geats: the omens were good, and they urged the adventure on” (117-120).

(Life Cycle - Aging)

“I was new to the the throne, then a young man ruling the wide kingdom/My older brother, a far better man…” (195-201).

Legacy / Glory

“Danes and visiting Geatss celebrated as one, drank and rejoiced…” (231-232).