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Through the story of Beowulf

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1 Through the story of Beowulf
Literary Elements Through the story of Beowulf

2 Theme The controlling idea of a piece of literature.
A unifying or dominant idea

3 Themes in Beowulf Greed for glory leads to downfall.
Greed for glory leads to heroism. “The fight is not yours,/ nor meet for any but me alone/ to measure the might with this monster here/ and play the hero.”

4 Characterization The characteristics of a character
Physiological- what the character looks like Sociological- the character’s background Psychological- the character’s behavior

5 Characterization of Beowulf
Physiological: strongest man of all “[…] Higlac’s/Follower and the strongest of the Geats– greater/ And stronger than anyone anywhere in this world […]” Sociological: loyal & has seen victory far and wide “Higlac’s Follower” & “I drove/ Five great giants into chains, chased/ All of that race from the earth.” Psychological: reckless, brave, greedy for glory “But Higlac’s follower remembered his final/ Boast and, standing erect, stopped/ The monster’s flight […]”

6 Conflict The opposing forces that come into disagreement in a story
External & External Conflicts: Man vs. self Man vs. man Man vs. society Man vs. nature

7 Conflict in Beowulf Man vs. self Man vs. man
“ […] my hands/ Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life/ Against the monster.” Man vs. man “The sage assumed that his sovran God/ he had angered, breaking ancient law,/ and embittered the Lord.” Also three battles could be considered here Man vs. society & man vs. nature Three battles could be considered

8 Setting When and where a story takes place

9 Setting of Beowulf A changing world between Pagan and Christian ideas– a world that is attempting to rid itself of the old, “evil” ways Anglo-Saxon Period in the regions of modern-day Denmark and Sweden “Hail/ To those who will rise to God, drop off/ Their dead bodies and seek our Father’s peace!”

10 Protagonist vs. Antagonist
Protagonist: the leading character, hero, or heroine of a literary work Antagonist: the character or force that works against the hero or protagonist

11 Pro. & Ant. in Beowulf Beowulf vs. Grendel
Beowulf vs. Grendel’s Mother Beowulf vs. Dragon

12 Plot The action of a literary work
Exposition: the act of explaining the setting and introducing the main characters & other literary elements at the beginning of a literary work Rising Action: a related series of incidents that build towards the climax Climax: THE POINT OF NO RETURN/ THE HIGHEST OR MOST INTENSE POINT IN THE STORY Falling Action: the part of a story that occurs after the climax has been reached and the conflict has been resolved Resolution: the outcome of the story- the protagonist either gets what he/she wants or does not

13 Plot Triangle for Beowulf
Climax: Beowulf fights the Dragon and is injured Rising Action: Beowulf kills Grendel & Grendel’s Mother/ is named King Falling Action: Wiglaf brings Beowulf the treasure Resolution: Beowulf dies a hero and is buried in a funeral pyre Exposition: Beowulf is great/ Danes in trouble and need help

14 Point of View The perspective from which a story is told
First person- “I” Second person- “you” “us” “we” Third person limited- “he” “she” but we see one character’s thoughts Third person omniscient- “he” “she” but we see all characters’ thoughts

15 Point of View of Beowulf
Third person omniscient “That shepherd of evil, guardian of crime,/ Knew at once that nowhere on earth/ Had he met a man whose hands were harder;/ His mind was flooded with fear […]” “That mighty protector of men/ Mean to hold the monster till its life/ Leaped out, knowing the fiend was no use/ To anyone in Denmark.”

16 Motif A recurring subject, theme, idea, etc. in a literary work
These motifs can also be symbolic, which can make them also symbolism

17 Motif in Beowulf Fate Monsters “Fate will unwind as it must!”
“But Wyrd denied it,/ and victory’s honors.” “At home I bided/ what fate might come, and I cared for mine own;/ feuds I sought not, nor falsely swore/ ever an oath.” Monsters Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, the dragon

18 Symbolism Items or characters that represent larger ideas and concepts

19 Symbols in Beowulf The Mead Hall- a place of unity and celebration
Beowulf’s chain mail- God’s grace/ the “chosen one” Mead Cup- all soldiers drink from it = the symbol of unity

20 Literary Techniques Through Beowulf

21 Allusions Referring to a famous person, place, thing, etc. in a literary text

22 Allusions in Beowulf Several allusions to God and heaven:
“That was their way,/ And the heathen’s only hope, Hell/ Always in their hearts, knowing neither God/ Nor His passing as He walks through our world, the Lord/ of Heaven and earth […] “God must decide/ Who will be given to death’s cold grip.”

23 Foreshadowing Hints in the text of what is to come

24 Foreshadowing in Beowulf
“But fate, that night, intended/ Grendel to gnaw the broken bones Of his last human supper. Human/ Eyes were watching his evil steps,/ Waiting to see his swift hard claws.”

25 Alliteration Two or more words begin with the same sound

26 Alliteration in Beowulf
“Long while of the day/ fled ere he felt the floor of the sea./ Soon found the fiend who the flood-domain sword-hungry held these hundred winters,/ greedy and grim, that some guest from above,/ some man, was raiding her monster-realm.”

27 Assonance Rhyme in which the same vowel sounds are used

28 Assonance in Beowulf “[…] Up from his swampland, sliding silently […]”
“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 when the moon/ Hangs in the skies […] Light and life fleeing together.”

29 Consonance Repetition of the same consonant sounds anywhere in the word

30 Consonance in Beowulf “[…] if in thy cause it came that I/ should lose my life, thou wouldst loyal bide/ to me, though fallen, in father’s place!” “Bloody the blade: he was blithe of his deed/ Then blazed forth light.” “Tore its fasteners with a touch/ And rushed angrily over the threshold.”

31 Simile A comparison using like or as

32 Simile in Beowulf “Bright within/ As when from the sky there shines unclouded/ Heaven’s candle.”

33 Metaphor Direct comparison that does not use like or as but directly states that one thing is another

34 Metaphor in Beowulf Kennings and epithets are also metaphorical
“shepherd of evil, guardian of crime” “Prince of the Weders” “The Son of Ecgtheow” “The Geatish hero” “sky-candle” “long sleep” “whale road” About the Dragon: “thus he moaned his woe,/ alone, for them all, and unblithe wept/ by day and by night, till death’s fell wave/ o’erwhelmed his heart.” “God must decide/ Who will be given to death’s cold grip.”

35 Understatement Saying less than reality in order to emphasize the emotion of a situation

36 Understatement in Beowulf
When Grendel’s Mother refers to Beowulf as her “guest from above” when he’s come to kill her

37 Personification Giving human qualities to inanimate objects

38 Personification in Beowulf
“Death’s cold grip” “Herot trembled”

39 Apostrophe Directly addressing a someone or something that cannot respond either because it’s not living or is not present/ oftentimes a digression as a sign of desperation

40 Apostrophe in Beowulf “O mighty Lord!”
“God, the Almighty, we call for you to come”

41 Hyperbole Using extreme exaggeration for emphasis

42 Hyperbole in Beowulf “Courageous men/ carried the head from the cliff by the sea/ an arduous task for all the band,/ the firm in fight, since four were needed/ on the shaft-of-slaughter strenuously/ to bear to the gold-hall Grendel’s head.” Beowulf’s feats– not realistic

43 Irony Three types: Situational- when the opposite of what you expect to happen actually happens Dramatic- when we know something a character does not know Verbal- sarcastic sayings or understatement/ overstatement in speech

44 Irony in Beowulf Situational-- The giant’s sword hanging on the wall
“’Mid the battle-gear saw he a blade triumphant,/ old-sword of Eotens, with edge of proof,/ warriors’ heirloom, weapon unmatched” Dramatic– the soldiers think Beowulf has died “To many it seemed/ the wolf-of-the-waves had won his life.” Verbal- understatement/ Beowulf brags “No small band of men had gathered to hear Beowulf’s boast.”


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