Approaches to Teaching Beowulf - Lord of the Rings and Role Playing

  • PDF
  • Print
  • E-mail
Article Index
Approaches to Teaching Beowulf
All Pages
The Lord of the Rings and the elements of a role playing game.

Beowulf is comprised of 3 fights.  There are three kinds of forces both in the poem and in most role playing games.  In Beowulf, those forces are subdivided into Christian forces and pagan forces.  Superhuman forces are exactly what they sound like—in the poem, they are God, evil, and fate.  In games, the superhuman force is fate or luck or the roll of the dice.  Human forces are, in the poem, Beowulf and his men.  In gaming, it is the human player.  Material forces are the things used by the human force or the goals of the human force: ships, horses, weapons, treasure.

With those forces in mind, consider the forces in Beowulf.


Superhuman Forces

Human Forces

Material Forces



God, evil, wyrd

Beowulf alone

None—Beowulf fights for honor and uses his bare hands.

Beowulf trusts in God/fate and represents good in the fight against evil.

Grendel’s mother

Grendel’s mother, less God

Beowulf and fellow thanes but Beowulf fights alone.

Hrothgar promises Beowulf treasure to kill Grendel’s mother and Beowulf uses a sword and dagger.

Beowulf fights for money and uses weapons.  God is less apparent in this fight.



Beowulf is originally accompanied by 12 followers, but they abandon him save one.

Beowulf fights to keep treasure and protect his people.  He wants the treasure made into a mound so he can watch it as he dies.  Uses a sword.

Virtually no God in this fight, and Beowulf is fighting to defend a nation of “Goblet stealers.”

One theme can be extracted by examining how the forces change throughout the three fights.  Beowulf originally trusts in God, uses no material forces(Fortitudo), and fights for glory.  In the second fight, there are fewer superhuman forces, more material forces, and more human forces.  In the third fight, Beowulf relies more on wisdom (Sapientia), uses more material forces, fewer superhuman forces, and needs a followed to help him slay the dragon.

Notice also that there is more empathy for the monsters as the fights progress.  Grendel’s motivation for attacking Hrothgar’s men is pure evil.  In the second fight we understand Grendel’s mother’s avenging her son’s death.  In the third fight, the dragon is simply doing his job, protecting the treasure, when one of Beowulf’s people steals a goblet from him.


“Man should not trust in things of this world" for they (like Beowulf's sword) will fail him.

All men die.  The wages of heroism are death.  Men should trust in God rather than in things, because the trust Beowulf places in weapons rather than in God fails him.

Ask students to choose a role playing game and to examine the superhuman, human, and material forces in them.



0 #251 Jonathon 2018-03-14 08:46
for just a high quote harry potter epub
download: they inspire work exactly the same way
fifty shades of grey epub
download: if promotion has low traffic pride
and prejudice epub: add your text divergent
veronica roth epub: who will provide the machines 50 shades of grey infinite jest epub (Jonathon: (Jacquelyn: could
start offering tools the
way of kings epub:
0 #250 BrodieChief 2018-03-13 15:12
I have checked your blog and i've found
some duplicate content, that's why you don't rank
high in google, but there is a tool that can help you to create 100% unique articles, search for:
boorfe's tips unlimited content
0 #249 2018-03-01 08:37
Dochter van 13 kreeg met 12 jaar zo'n fiets.
0 #248 seks met buurvrouw 2018-02-22 11:56
15% van de vrouwen gaat vreemd, dat is niet mis.
0 #247 seks daten 2018-02-21 07:45
Maar het laat wel zien dat hij je leuk vindt.
0 #246 2018-02-20 18:52
Je maakt elkaar beide gek stop daarmee en ga ervoor.
0 #245 serie tv samedi soir 2018-02-20 14:22
Des séries TV et des films personnalisés pour vous.
0 #244 gratis datentransfer 2018-02-20 00:03
En de leukste vrouwen bevinden zich in het wild?
0 #243 2018-02-19 07:24
Sex en porno : Lekker je buurmeisje neuken en filmen.
0 #242 João Enzo Gabriel 2018-02-15 03:28
37) noção de marketing é uma filosofia empresarial.
0 #241 João Lucas 2018-02-14 06:49
Críticos desejam sustentar dois sistemas paralelos.
0 #240 Pedro Isaac 2018-02-11 11:00
esboçado é traço preto feito próximo aos cílios.
0 #239 Rosaria 2018-02-08 18:20
Helⅼo tо aⅼl, it's genuinely a fastidious fߋr
me to visit tһis website, іt includes precious Ӏnformation.

My homepage :: bad credit rating loan (Rosaria:
0 #238 Leopoldo 2018-02-08 08:20
Terrific worҝ! This iѕ the kind of іnformation tһat are supposed tо be shared aroսnd tһe web.
Shame on tһe seek ebgines foor no llnger positioning tһis publish upper!
Ϲome on oѵеr and consult witһ my site . Thanks =)

Feel free tο surf to my site; Biến tần Mitsubishi ϜR-A740[Leopoldo:]
0 #237 Trinidad 2018-02-06 13:21
Hellߋ there I am so thrilled I found your webpage, I really fߋund you by
accident, whіle I waas browsing on Bing f᧐r sometһing eⅼse,
Anyhoww Ι am һere now and would just like tߋ
say kudos for a remarkable post and a all гound thrilling
blog (І alѕo love tһе theme/design), I ⅾon’t hаve tіme
too read thгough it all ɑt the moment but Ι hаve book-marked it аnd ɑlso included
your RSS feeds, so ѡhen I have time I wіll Ƅe back tto гead a lot mߋгe, Pleɑse dо keep
up the superb b.

Here іs my page: local relocation - Trinidad: -
0 #236 Maria Isabelly 2018-02-05 15:42
Não importa quanto tempo você passe nele, é impraticável cansar
do We♥It, particularmente porque, enquanto você não quiser heartar
zero, pode voltar nos hearts antigos ver como nossos gostos mudaram e também tudo mas.
0 #235 Emanuelly 2018-01-28 14:03
Seja sutil, sem furar jogo antes da hora.

Add comment

Security code

A Class Act--Teaching for Smarties


  • Een relatief nieuwe online activiteit is vreemdgaa...
  • I have checked your site and i have found some dup...
  • research paper research paper research papers rese...
  • for just a high quote harry potter epub download: ...
  • I have checked your site and i have found some dup...