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Activity Overview

When reading stories in archaic languages, it can be helpful for students to create visuals to help understand events that are being described. Using evidence from the text and making text-based inferences, students will pick one of the battles Beowulf brags about and illustrate it in the form a timeline or sequence.

To provide further differentiation for this activity, students can use the timeline layout in the storyboard creator, create a comic, or use a blank poster layout to create a full image that they then describe.

For additional templates to add to this assignment, check out our timeline poster templates.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a timeline that depicts the sequence of events of one of Beowulf's battles.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify major parts of the battle.
  3. Add a description using quotes from the story.
  4. Create an illustration using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  5. Save and exit when you're done.

Lesson Plan Reference


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Proficient Emerging Beginning
The illustrations use appropriate scenes, characters and items.
The illustrations are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the assignment.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are somewhat correct.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are mostly incorrect.

How To Understand the Significance of Battles in Literature


Give Historical Significance

Teachers can start by introducing the historical significance of battles in literature as well as real life. Students can study examples of real historical battles that have occurred throughout time and understand the impact of those battles.


Determine Symbolism

Beyond the actual conflict, battles can have symbolic importance. Look for symbolic representations such as wars between good and evil, conflicts that mirror psychological struggles, or battles that serve as metaphors for societal difficulties.


Investigate Themes

Battles frequently relate to larger literary themes such as power, justice, sacrifice, and resilience. Examine how the fighting scenes aid in the development of these topics.


Impact on Character Growth

Writers usually add events such as battles to old literature to bring out character growth and development. Students can use this perspective to analyze the impact of battles in different literary pieces.


Conduct Comparative Analysis

Teachers can help the students to conduct a comparative analysis of battles in different works of literature. This will help them analyze the similarities and differences in the impacts of these battles. They can also conduct a discussion with open-ended questions and use Venn diagrams to gather all the information on one page.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Battles in Beowulf

How do the wars in "Beowulf" mirror contemporary values?

The battles illustrate Anglo-Saxon warrior culture values, emphasizing virtues like bravery, loyalty to one's lord, the desire for glory, and the willingness to confront danger for honor and kindred.

Do the fights in "Beowulf" have metaphorical meanings?

Yes, the fights in "Beowulf" are frequently symbolic. They depict larger themes and battles, such as the war against evil powers, the hero's journey, and humanity's existential concerns. Such pieces of literature are an important source for learning symbolism and understanding themes.

What are the other characters' roles in the battles?

Other characters in the conflicts, such as King Hrothgar and Wiglaf, play supporting roles. The inability of King Hrothgar to defeat Grendel emphasizes the value of Beowulf's valor, while Wiglaf's allegiance and support during the dragon battle emphasize the importance of kindred and honor.

Are the battles depicted in "Beowulf" in great detail?

Yes, the fights in "Beowulf" are detailed in vivid detail, with poetic language and imagery being used to depict the intensity and drama of the engagements. Students can use this descriptive language and imagery to recreate interesting scenarios and draw graphic images.

What role do the battles play in the overall structure of "Beowulf"?

The battles are pivotal moments in the story of "Beowulf." They propel the plot along, shape character development, and serve as climax points that influence the overall flow of the novel. Literary pieces like Beowulf usually revolve around these battles and the performance of the hero in these battles.

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