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Beowulf Study Guide.

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1 Beowulf Study Guide

2 Vocabulary Words Reparation – noun
Something making up for a wrong or an injury Solace – noun comfort; relief Purge – verb Purify; cleanse Writhing – adjective Making twisting or turning motions

3 Vocabulary Words Massive – adjective Big and solid; bulky
Loathsome – adjective Disgusting

4 Literary Elements Epic – a long narrative poem, sometimes developed orally, that celebrates the deeds of a legendary or heroic figure. Epics are among the earliest forms of literature.

5 Common Features of an Epic
The Hero battles forces that threaten the order of his world . The story is told in a serious manner, often in special, elevated language

6 Literary Elements Kennings – two-word poetic renamings of people, places, and things, such as the kenning whales’ home for the sea Caesuras – rhythmic breaks in the middle of lines, where the reciter could pause for breath

7 Kennings There are many kennings in “The Battle with Grendel”
Kennings are descriptive, poetical expressions used instead of the simple name of a person or thing. The word comes from the Scandinavian words Kenne vith, which mean “to name after”.

8 Kennings Examples : “Shepard of evil” “Guardian of crime”
“Higlac’s follower” “Infamous killer” “Almighty’s enemy” “hell’s captive”

9 Why Kennings? The primary purpose was to maintain the alliteration required by Anglo-Saxon verse. According to convention, one of the accented syllables after the caesura, (a pause in a line of verse) has to alliterate with at least one of the accented syllables in the first half of the line.

10 Things to learn How to paraphrase – identify the key details in a passage and restate them in your own words What is a legendary hero? He is a larger-than-life character whose accomplishments are celebrated in traditional tales. Beowulf’s boastful self-confidence,, his feats of strength, and his victories in battle make him a classic legendary hero

11 Paraphrase “the monster’s thoughts were as quick as his greed or claws” This phrase could mean “the monster has intelligence”

12 Paraphrase So the living sorrow Healfdane’s son/Simmered, bitter and fresh, and no wisdom/Or strength could break it; that agony hung/On king and people alike…” Could mean Hrothgar felt an endless sorrow he couldn’t get rid of

13 Beowulf Wiglaf believes that he and his fellow soldiers should help Beowulf fight the dragon because in the past they had promised to repay Beowulf’s kindness with their lives

14 Beowulf When Beowulf is dying, he gives Wiglaf his gold necklace to indicate that Wiglaf will be the next ruler of Geatland

15 Beowulf “Burns like a torch. No one knows its bottom”
Caesura – example “Burns like a torch. No one knows its bottom” Hint: it has a pause in the middle of the line

16 Paraphrase --then the sword/Melted, blood-soaked, dripping down/Like water, disappearing like ice when the world’s/Eternal Lord loosens invisible/Fetters and unwinds icicles and frost… Could mean The sword melted like icicles do when God warms them

17 Beowulf It is ironic that the Geats build a tower to memorialize Beowulf because they all deserted him in his battle with the dragon

18 What does this mean? …they could hack at Grendel/From every side, trying to open/A path for his evil soul, but their points/Could not hurt him. The bold phrase could mean That they were trying to kill Grendel by opening him up and giving a way for his soul to be released

19 Beowulf Called “noble protector of all seamen”, Beowulf is know by his KENNING



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