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(450-1066 A.D.).  Author Unknown  Epic – a long narrative poem detailing a hero’s deeds.

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Presentation on theme: "(450-1066 A.D.).  Author Unknown  Epic – a long narrative poem detailing a hero’s deeds."— Presentation transcript:

1 (450-1066 A.D.)

2  Author Unknown  Epic – a long narrative poem detailing a hero’s deeds.

3  Passed down through word of mouth by storytellers known as scops (pronounced she- ops)  Probably recited to harp music  Was written down at 1 point; many mysteries remain surrounding text

4  Events in the poem take place between late 5 th century & early 7 th century  Composed in Old English or Anglo-Saxon  Considered earliest major work of English poetry  A single manuscript exists, now in British Library in London  Caught fire in 1731, left pages burned and brittle

5  3,000 lines long  Unrhymed, four-beat alliterative lines called alliterative verse  Title added later, no title included in manuscript

6  Lived in tribes  Kings were decided by deeds, not last names  Spoke Old English  Pagans before adopting Christianity  Pagans = strong nature presence; strength of warrior  Anglo Saxons mixed both beliefs – Beowulf contains traces of both beliefs

7  Migration of people from present day Germany to present day England

8  People Living on the British Isles  Picts – Pre-Celtic  Britons – Celtic  Gaels – Celtic  Roman armies conquered the Britons  Romans introduced cities, stone roads, written scholarship, and Christianity.  Romans abandoned Britain

9  Even when they adopted Christianity, they valued heroic ideals and traditional values  Culture valued human contact, family, virtue, and a good story  Valued heroic code over tribal loyalties  Feared humiliation and loneliness  Desired richness, power, and valued heroic actions of warriors

10  Story of noble warrior, Beowulf  Becomes King of Geats  Fights 3 major battles (Grendel, Grendel’s Mother, Dragon)  He travels from Scandinavia (modern day Sweden) to Heorot (in modern day Denmark)  Pronounced “hair-ut”

11  Warriors  Strength, courage, loyalty  Kings  Generous to his thanes (warriors)  Show hospitality  Strong political leader  Anyone can become king  Society  A good reputation

12  Poem's Hero: Beowulf  a mighty warrior from the land of the Geats (modern day Sweden)  arrives in modern day Denmark (home of Spear- danes or “Danes”)  noble, courageous, bold, and stronger by far than any other living mortal

13  Arrives to build his reputation  Important to Anglo Saxons  When he arrives to Heorot, he has already defeated seamonsters

14  Grendel  nightmarish creature–half-beast, half-man–that strikes at night  Born with dark heart and dark spirit  Born out of chaos – from the lineage of the biblical Cain (who killed his own brother)  Kings balance out chaos

15  Grendel's mother  Disgusting creature  Lives in swamp with her son  Fire-breathing dragon  Dragons believed to be former kings who were greedy  Dragon is opposite of good king (ie: Beowulf)

16  King Hrothgar (Dane)  Hroth = benefit of; gar= spear  Who Beowulf travels to help  Wiglaf (pronounced weeg-lauf)  Wig= war/fight  Young thane originally from Sweden (was a prisoner)– loyal to Beowulf in his last battle  Edgetho (pronounced ej-thoe)  Beowulf’s father who died when he was young

17  Danes  Hrothgar and his thanes  Geats  Beowulf and his men  Wulfing  Tribe Hrothgar made peace with for Beowulf’s father

18  Establishing Identity (Family Lineage vs. Individual Reputation)  Good vs. Evil  Strong Warrior vs. Strong King

19  Thane = warrior  Mead-hall = built by King Hrothgar. Place for men to gather, eat, drink mead (like beer), and tell stories  Wyrd = fate  Scop (pronounced she-op) = oral storyteller; often to harp music; provided entertainment and education; sang or chanted stories  Hrunting = sword

20  Heorot is the mead-hall King Hrothgar built his men after much military success  Enjoyed prosperity there for a long time  Until Grendel, monster who lives in the swamplands just outside Heorot, becomes angered by their celebrations  He has been terrorizing Heorot for 12 years; Hrothgar’s men defenseless against him

21  Beowulf is well-known hero of Geatland  not far from Denmark – the land of Danes  He heard of the terror Grendel caused  He brought 14 of his bravest men to help  Traveled by sea to Denmark



24  Anglo-Saxon poetry used several devices, including: ▪ Metaphors: a comparison without “like” or “as” ▪ Similes: a comparison using “like” or “as” ▪ Alliteration: repetition of the initial consonant sound in a line of poetry ▪ Caesura: a pause in a line of poetry ▪ Repetition ▪ Kennings: a descriptive phrase or compound word that substitutes for one word  Stories were often filled with violence and gore  Most stories were about heroic warriors prevailing in battle  Characters were driven by fate (wyrd) and their courage was tested

25  Setting is vast scope, often involving more than 1 nation  Plot is complicated by supernatural beings or events and may involve a long, dangerous journey  Poem reflects timeless values (ex: courage, honor)  Poem treats universal themes (ex: life and death; good and evil)  Major characters often deliver long, serious speeches  What are some examples of present day epics?  Lord of the Rings  Star Wars

26  Is of noble of birth or high position; often of great historical or legendary importance  Character traits reflect important ideals of his society  Performs courageous (sometimes superhuman) deeds that reflect the values of the era  Actions of hero often determine the fate of a nation or group of people

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