Presentation on theme: "Introduction Notes: Beowulf Beowulf is written in Old English which is also called Anglo-Saxon. Here is what the Lord's Prayer looks like written in Old."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction Notes: Beowulf Beowulf is written in Old English which is also called Anglo-Saxon. Here is what the Lord's Prayer looks like written in Old English. Which words can you recognize? Fæder úre, ðú ðe eart on heofonum, Sí ðín nama gehálgod. Tó becume ðín rice. Gewurde ðín willa On eorþan swá swá on heofonum. Urne dægwhamlícan hlaf syle ús tódæg. And forgyf ús úre gyltas, Swá swá wé forgyfaþ úrum gyltendum. And ne gelæd ðu ús on costnunge, Ac álýs ús of yfele. Sóþlice. Here is a link to an audio versionHere is a link to an audio version.
Setting: Scandinavia, Denmark and Sweden, late 400’s AD Time written: Between the 8 th and 11 th centuries Author: Unknown Anglo Saxon poet, written in what is now England. Although the poet is Anglo Saxon, he was probably part of a group of recent immigrants to Britain from Scandinavia which explains why the setting and the characters are Scandinavian. Significance: Oldest surviving epic of Western Europe Introduction Notes: Beowulf
Setting of Beowulf Scandinavia of Beowulf’s timeModern Scandinavia
Kenning – standardized comparison similar to an epithet (like a nickname but more a title: the girl on fire, the green-eyes seeker, the boy with the bread), used in Beowulf (ex: ring-giver, whale-road) Beowulf’s name is also a kenning: literally "bee wolf" i.e. "bee hunter", a kenning for "bear" Anglo Saxon Warrior and Culture Anglo Saxons valued a distinct hero type: the warrior. Warriors had to possess qualities of courage, loyalty, wisdom, and physical strength. A warrior society – Anglo Saxon leaders were warlords who protected their people from attack Comitatus – close knit group formed by the warlord and his followers. Warlords rewarded their bravest followers with gifts, hence the kenning ring-givers. Oral literature – heroic songs celebrating a warriors deeds of courage, strength, and loyalty were sung by minstrels, or scops (pronounced “shops”). Beowulf would have started out as this kind of song. There are examples in Beowulf of scops singing songs of great warriors. Introduction Notes: Beowulf
Mead hall – Anglo Saxon banquet hall (mead is an alcoholic beverage made of fermented honey). Beowulf begins in the famous mead hall of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, which is being tormented by the monster Grendel. Germanic traditions – these traditions intermingled with Christian beliefs in Anglo Saxon literature. Germanic traditions consisted of dark, heroic tales which depicted a tragic world in which even the gods ultimately perished. The warrior’s ultimate goal was to achieve fame in this life because there was not afterlife. Christianity – Christian beliefs in an omnipotent God and eternal life blended with Germanic tradition so that Anglo Saxon literature contains both contradicting elements. Beowulf was written in England by an Anglo Saxon poet who had been influenced by the Roman missionaries that brought Christianity to Britain beginning in the 3 rd and 4 th centuries. Wyrd – Anglo Saxons believed in fate, or wyrd. They believed that it controlled one’s destiny and was inescapable. One’s final fate was death. This very fatalistic worldview is evident throughout Beowulf and most especially at the end of the epic. Anglo Saxon Warrior and Culture