Beowulf Background Literary Devices Beowulf is The first

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Beowulf Background & Literary Devices

Beowulf Background & Literary Devices

Beowulf is… • The first great work of English national literature • The epic

Beowulf is… • The first great work of English national literature • The epic story of the hero, Beowulf, who fights the demonic monster, Grendel. • Beowulf is an epic hero. • Reminder: Epic heroes are central figures in long narratives that reflect the values and heroic ideals of a particular society. • Reminder: An epic is a quest story on a grand scale.

The Bard • Definition: a tribal poetsinger skilled in composing and reciting verses on

The Bard • Definition: a tribal poetsinger skilled in composing and reciting verses on heroes and their deeds b : a composer, singer, or declaimer of epic or heroic verse 2: poet • Beowulf is an oral epic passed from bard to bard.

 • Harpist-bards told the familiar story for audiences Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon in the village

• Harpist-bards told the familiar story for audiences Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon in the village in West Stow, England, communal halls with communal hall on the left. at night. • Written down between 700 and 750.

Places • Beowulf takes place in Scandinavia Britain • Scholars think Herot might have

Places • Beowulf takes place in Scandinavia Britain • Scholars think Herot might have been built on the coast of Zealand, in Denmark

Who wrote it down? Theory: The poet who wrote Beowulf down may have been

Who wrote it down? Theory: The poet who wrote Beowulf down may have been a Northumbrian monk. Evidence: • scenery described resembles Northumbria (northeastern England) • Christian elements in epic

Who wrote it down? • Only a single manuscript of the poem survived the

Who wrote it down? • Only a single manuscript of the poem survived the Anglo. Saxon era. In the 1700’s it was nearly destroyed in a fire. • It was not until 1936 when the Oxford scholar J. R. R. Tolkien published a paper on the poem that is became popular.

Heroic Values • Relationship between king and his warriors • The king rewards his

Heroic Values • Relationship between king and his warriors • The king rewards his warriors with gifts • If a kinsman is slain, obligation to kill the slayer or obtain payment (wergeld) in compensation

Conflict: Christian vs. Pagan Values • This tension is at the heart of the

Conflict: Christian vs. Pagan Values • This tension is at the heart of the poem • Pagan history and myth are made to point to a Christian moral • Beowulf is poised between two value systems

Themes • The Importance • Strength & Skill of Establishing • Fate Identity •

Themes • The Importance • Strength & Skill of Establishing • Fate Identity • Wealth • The Difference • Religion Between a Good • Violence Warrior and a • Tradition and Good King Customs • Good vs. Evil

Literary Devices: Caesura (siz-you-rah) Beowulf was composed in Old English, which uses a caesura,

Literary Devices: Caesura (siz-you-rah) Beowulf was composed in Old English, which uses a caesura, or rhythmic pause, to create unity. Locate the caesura in these lines: ða com of more under misthleoþum Grendel gongan, godes yrre bær; mynte se manscaða manna cynnes sumne besyrwan in sele þam hean. Line divided into two parts by a caesura.

Literary Devices: Caesura Here are the same lines in modern English from Burton Raffel’s

Literary Devices: Caesura Here are the same lines in modern English from Burton Raffel’s translation: Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatred, Grendel came, hoping to kill Anyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot. Punctuation reproduces pause effect of the caesura.

Literary Devices: Alliteration The Anglo-Saxon oral poet also used the poetic device of alliteration.

Literary Devices: Alliteration The Anglo-Saxon oral poet also used the poetic device of alliteration. Grendel gongan, godes yrre bær; mynte se manscaða manna cynnes

Literary Devices: Alliteration: the repetition of consonant sounds in words close together. And with

Literary Devices: Alliteration: the repetition of consonant sounds in words close together. And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste. The emphasis on the w sound in this line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 creates a melancholy tone.

Literary Devices: Alliteration Find examples of alliteration in Burton Raffel’s translation of lines 1

Literary Devices: Alliteration Find examples of alliteration in Burton Raffel’s translation of lines 1 -5: Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatred, Grendel came, hoping to kill Anyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot.

Literary Devices: Alliteration Find examples of alliteration in Burton Raffel’s translation of lines 1

Literary Devices: Alliteration Find examples of alliteration in Burton Raffel’s translation of lines 1 -5: Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatred, Grendel came, hoping to kill Anyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot.

Literary Devices: Kenning a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person,

Literary Devices: Kenning a metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, thing, or event indirectly.

Kennings: Their Effect A kenning enhances the literal meaning of the words. A kenning

Kennings: Their Effect A kenning enhances the literal meaning of the words. A kenning gives the listener an idea of how the words connect to an idea or concept that is richer and more emotionally complex.

Examples of kennings from Beowulf: gold-shining hall= Herot guardian of crime = Grendel strong-hearted

Examples of kennings from Beowulf: gold-shining hall= Herot guardian of crime = Grendel strong-hearted wakeful sleeper = Beowulf cave-guard and sky-borne foe = dragon

Practice Create modern-day kennings for things you see around you. giver of words word-wand

Practice Create modern-day kennings for things you see around you. giver of words word-wand ? ?