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Where Did Beowulf Come from?

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2 Where Did Beowulf Come from?
Beowulf is an oral epic- a story about a hero that was told aloud in long ago times We don’t know who made up the story; It was probably more than one person adding on to the story as time went by First hero story from Europe It was first written down about 1000AD It tells a story from about 500 AD

3 Beowulf The story mixes Christian and non-Christian world views
The poem, filled with biblical allusions to the Old Testament, is also influenced by Germanic oral tradition and Old Norse myths and legends It was first published in modern times in 1815 It is written in a style of writing known as “Old English”

4 Old English The Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples had invaded the island of Britain and settled there several hundred years earlier than Beowulf began, bringing with them several closely related Germanic languages that would evolve into Old English. Old English is nothing like modern English!

5 Old English Prologue from Beowulf
Sample text in Old English (Prologue from Beowulf)                                                                                                                                                                                     Modern English version

6 Which Means… Lo, praise of the prowess of people-kings of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped, we have heard, and what honor the athelings won! Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes, from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore, awing the earls. Since erst he lay friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him: for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve, till before him the folk, both far and near, who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate, gave him gifts:

7 Which Really Means… Listen to my story! We have heard of the long-ago years, of the glory of the Danish kings. We have heard how they swung their mighty swords in brave deeds. In those days Scyld Scefing made slaves of enemy soldiers and terrified their nobles. The Danes had found him helpless as a child. He had been floating on the sea in a ship, surrounded by gifts, a strange kingchild. He grew tall, sailed the seas, rode through the land, till other kings sailed the whale-paths to seek him, offer him gold and bow to him. He ruled lands on all sides. That was a brave king!

8 Literary Devices in Beowulf
Beowulf is noted especially for three literary devices : caesura, alliteration and kenning Remember that a literary device is a way of writing to produce a special effect

9 Caesura A break or a pause in the middle of a verse
Helps in reading and give special effects to a word or phrase- often marked with a double line (ll) Example from Beowulf Hwæt! we Gar-Dena || on geardagum ("Lo! we Spear-Danes, in days of yore).

10 Alliteration the repetition of similar sounds, especially the initial consonant sound of a word or of a stressed syllable Examples from Beowulf (there are three alliterations in every line ) Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings, Leader beloved, and long he ruled In fame with all folk since his father had gone . . .

11 Kenning two-word metaphorical name for something Examples in Beowulf
Ship:  "the bent-necked wood," "the ringed prow," "the foamy-necked," "the sea-wood," "the sea-farer" Sea:   "the swan-road"   "the whale-road" "the sea-bird's baths" Sword: "the leaving of the file"   "battle-lightning“ Dragon: "the twilight-spoiler“ Battle:  "the storm of swords" Queen:  "peace-bringer among nations" Lord/king:   "the protector of warriors;" "ring-giver;"  "dispenser of treasure

12 Beowulf Themes Goodness conquers evil. Beowulf, of course represents goodness; the three monsters that he slays represent evil.   Actions (Beowulf's) speak louder than words (Unferth's).   Judge the greatness of a human being by the greatness of his deeds and his noble ancestry.   Help thy neighbor. (Beowulf risks his life to help a neighbor, King Hrothgar, in trouble.)   Forces of darkness–irrational, menacing–are always at work in society. Life is a continuing struggle. After Beowulf defeats Grendel, Grendel's mother seeks revenge. Beowulf kills her. Eventually, in old age, he faces still another challenge, this time from a dragon. He kills the dragon, too, but suffers a mortal wound. After he dies, new troubles loom on the horizon in the form of wars with neighboring tribes. 

13 Beowulf Pronunciation Guide
It might be of some help in reading Beowulf to know how to pronounce some of the names. The accent always falls on the first syllabus of a name. The "sc" that starts many of the names is pronounced  "sh."  The "e" is usually pronounced as an independent vowel, so "Beowulf" sound like "Bay'-oh-wolf," "Heorot" is "Hay-oh-roht," and "Geats" are Gay'ahts."  The letter "h" at the beginning of a name is aspirated (strongly-breathed).  Old English Name:   Pronounciation:Ælfhere  alf hair uh Æschere  ash hair uh Beanstan  bayan stahn Dæghrefn   day hreven Eadgils  ayad gils (hard g) Eanmund  ayan mund  Earnaness  er nuh ness Ecgtheow  edge thayo Eofor   ayo ver Freawaru  fraya wah roo Geat  gayat Geatas  gayat as Hæthcyn  hath kin Healfdene  half day nuh (pronounce the l) Heardred   har dred Heorogar  hair uh gar Heorot  hay oh roht Herebeald  hair uh bald  Heremod   hair uh mode Hildeburh  hil duh burch Hnæf  hnaff Hoc  hoke Hreosnabeorh  hrayos nuh bairch Hrothgar  hroth gar Hronesnes  hron us ness Hygelac  hee yuh lahk Nægling  nail ing Ohthere  ocht hair uh Ongentheow  on gen thayo (hard g) Scefing  shay ving Scop shope Scyld  shay ld Wealhtheow  walch thayo Weohstan  wech stahn Wiglaf  wee lahf

14 Quick Summary Written: Between down around 1000 A.D., in England; had been a story told out loud for centuries Author: Unknown Type of Work: Epic poem Setting: in Denmark and Geatland ( what is now southern Sweden) in about 500 A.D. Tone: Exciting, action, foreboding Protagonist: Beowulf Antagonist: Grendal, Grendal’s mother

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