Presentation on theme: "Beowulf was performed from memory and passed from generation to generation. This is known as the oral tradition. It was handed down, with changes and."— Presentation transcript:
Beowulf was performed from memory and passed from generation to generation. This is known as the oral tradition. It was handed down, with changes and embellishments, from one minstrel to another. A minstrel was a “medieval musical entertainers, especially a singer of verses to the accompaniment of a harp” (“Minstrel”).
Beowulf was finally written down around 700 A.D. most likely by a Christian poet. Because of the poem’s author, there is a unique fusion of Christian and pagan values throughout the poem.
The poem was composed in Old English. Below is the first line of Beowulf written in its original form: “HWÆT, WE GAR-DEna in geardagum, þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon!” (“Medieval Sourcebook: Beowulf”)
“The only manuscript we have of Beowulf dates from the year 1000 and is now in the British museum in London burned and stained, it was discovered in the eighteeth century: somehow it had survived Henry VIII’s destruction of the monasteries two hundred years earlier” (“Beowulf”).
Kenning: figurative phrases used for people, things, or events, particularly for characterization. Example from Beowulf: Ring-giving lord= generous king Modern day example: Car with poor gas mileage= gas guzzler
Create a kenning! How could you describe: The sky= A sword= The sea= The moon=
Epithet: an adjective or other descriptive phrase that is regularly used to characterize a person, place, or thing. Examples: Alfred the Great gray-eyed goddess Athena Hrothgar, protector of the Danes
Alliteration: “the repetition of the same sounds—usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables—in any sequence of neighboring words” (“Alliteration”). Examples: “The Hall of the Heart” “His pledge and promise” “Dragging the dead men home to his den” “Showed sea-cliffs shining”
: “long narratives about the adventures of larger than life characters” ("Beowulf" ). Examples: The Odyssey The Iliad
Elements of a The hero is a great leader of high status Vast setting that ranges over many lands Action is courageous and possibly superhuman Supernatural forces (e.g. gods) partake in the action
Elements of a continued Speaker begins by stating a theme, a controlling idea or message, or by invoking a muse, or higher power, for inspiration. Story begins in medias res (in the middle of things). The reader is not given a lot of background. The reader is plunged into the midst of a crisis.
Elements of a continued The hero is on a quest and undertakes an extraordinary journey. It frequently includes long, formal speeches and “catalogs” or lists describing warriors, battles, or objects.
Hero: main character with good qualities that allow him/her to triumph over evil Tragic hero: noble character with a tragic flaw which brings about his/her demise. Often admirable qualities carried to excess/extreme. Example: Brutus from Julius Caesar
The three most common Anglo-Saxon poetic forms are: Heroic Epic Elegiac Lyric A poem used to mourn the dead Riddles Intellectual exercises that entertained by puzzling The Anglo-Saxons gathered in mead-halls where they would celebrate their victories and be entertained by a scop, a professional singer or minstrel, who would recount the exploits of tribal heroes.