BEOWULF VS GRENDEL & CO.
An Internet WebQuest on GOOD AND EVIL IN LITERATURE

created by Ralph A. Bucci

layout design by Dave Shanker, Sandra Lin and Danilo Groppa
Charles W. Flanagan High School

 

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Introduction

The story of good and evil has existed since the beginning of man's existence. A look at one of the Anglo-Saxons oldest epics, BEOWULF, reveals how this is evident and explains the side of good as depicted in the hero Beowulf and his Northumbrian ways as well as his attempts to help his father's friend, Hrothgar, the King of the Danes. Evil is personified in Grendel, Beowulf's nemesis, the man-eating beast that terrorizes mankind. As long as you can recognize the delicate balance of good and evil which the yin-yang provides the characters that the Anglo-Saxon poet describes in this epic will help you relate to the concept of good and evil.




The Quest

How is good and evil depicted in BEOWULF?




The Process and Resources

In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about GOOD AND EVIL IN LITERATURE. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.

You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic. To begin to understand the concept of good and evil, Mr. Bucci's World Literature's class will indoctrinate you to the ways that the epic writer of the Anglo-Saxon's used the story of Beowulf to show depravity. By examining the protagonist as the forces of goodness and the antagonist as an allegory of evil, the theme of good and evil will come into focus and allow you to understand its complexities.

Phase 1 - Background: Something for Everyone

Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can. Each student will work in a group to accomplish the task of realizing the concept of good and evil.

1. What does the Yin-Yang symbol represent?

2. How does good and evil relate to the yin-yang in relationship to its symbol.

3. What meaning can be derived from its color?

4.An Etext is provided for you learn this epic poem. You will be evaluated from time to time on your understanding of the concepts necessary to ensure that you fully understand its contents. These validations will come in the form of essays, quizes and tests.

Phase 2 - Looking Deeper from Different Perspectives

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.

2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.

3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.

4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.

Through the Eyes of Goodness

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Through the Eyes of Goodness:

Concepts

1. In lines 5-13, what is the poet alluding to concerning the Bible?

2. What is the implication that God prevents Grendel from touching Hrothgar's throne?

3. What evidence is there that the fight between Beowulf and Grendel is symbolic of the war between Good and Evil.

Through the Eyes of Evil

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Through the Eyes of Evil:

1. What evidence is there that Grendel symbolizes evil?

2. How is the coming of night personified as the sun sets?

3. What evidence is there that the fight between Grendel and Beowulf is symbolic of the war Between good and evil?


Through the Eyes of Man

Use the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Through the Eyes of Man:

1. Why do none of Hrothgar's men challenge Grendel?

2. When we first meet Beowulf, do you find him to be arrogant or conceited based on his boasting?

3. How did the actions of Beowulf's men uphold the Anglo-Saxon code of honor?

4. Do you feel any sympathy for Grendel's Mother?

Phase 3 - Debating, Discussing, and Reaching Consensus

You have all learned about a different part of GOOD AND EVIL IN LITERATURE. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.

Phase 4 - Real World Feedback

You and your teammates have learned a lot by dividing up into different roles. Now's the time to put your learning into a letter you'll send to Mr. Bucci at falconlit1@aol.com. Together you will write a letter that contains opinions, information, and perspectives that you've gained. Here's the process:

1. Begin your letter with a statement of who you are and why you are writing your message to this particular person or organization.

2. Give background information that shows you understand the topic.

STATE THE TASK / QUEST(ION) AND YOUR GROUP'S ANSWER.

3. Each person in your group should write a paragraph that gives two good reasons supporting the group's opinion. Make sure to be specific in both the information (like where you got it from on the Web) and the reasoning (why the information proves your group's point).

4. Have each person on the team proofread the message. Use correct letter format and make sure you have correctly addressed the email message. Use the link below to make contact. Send your message and make sure your teacher gets a copy.

5. An additional visual project must be presented from each group that serves as a defining project for BEOWULF. Examples of these are not limited to the following:
A cast of Grendel's arm torn off by Beowulf
A sword and dagger used by the Scandanavians
A 2' x 4' ceiling panel of a scene from Beowulf that
displays the forces of good vs. evil
A cartoon in various panels that depicts what Beowulf
and Grendel look like and shows a scene from the
epic.
Submit this project to Ms. Goldenberg in the art department for her evaluation.

Your Contact is: Ms. Goldenberg




Conclusion

It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as GOOD AND EVIL IN LITERATURE: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of GOOD AND EVIL IN LITERATURE could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.