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& Anglo-Saxon Poetry. King of the Geats, Beowulf leaves home to help Hrothgar, King of the Danes.

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Presentation on theme: "& Anglo-Saxon Poetry. King of the Geats, Beowulf leaves home to help Hrothgar, King of the Danes."— Presentation transcript:

1 & Anglo-Saxon Poetry

2 King of the Geats, Beowulf leaves home to help Hrothgar, King of the Danes

3 Instead of rhyme or meter, Anglo-Saxon poetry relies on alliteration Lines are divided into two halves with a caesura in the middle. The halves are tied together by alliteration Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum, monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad, weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah, oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra ofer hronrade hyran scolde, gomban gyldan. þæt wæs god cyning!

4 Help with alliteration Function is similar to Stock Phrases in Greek Epics Poetic, often repeated phrases to describe things Whale-road (Ocean) Slaughter-dew (blood) Spear-din (battle) Can be combined for greater effect Slaughter dew worm dance (bloody battle to the death) Anglo-Saxon hall

5 The inclusion of God or Christ as the object of praise/worship. 53 times in the entire poem Biblical allusions The Flood The concept of Grendel as the descendant of Cain. The poet argues that Grendel was, like all monsters, descended from the cursed son of Adam and Eve Life-in-saxons-vikings.html

6 Role of Protection Norse Society was based on loose political relationships. A powerful warrior (a thane) would lead a group of warriors and their families. Often hereditary, but loose A weak thane could easily lose his warriors. Warrior Culture. The final goal for every warrior was to be defeated in battle. Death by old age was not preferred Only warriors who were killed in battle were accepted in Valhalla, the warrior “heaven” in Norse mythology.

7 Figure of speech in which understatement is employed for rhetorical effect An idea is expressed by a denial of its opposite, often employing double negatives To say that something is attractive, we might say it’s “not unattractive”. Good= Not Bad Like= Not unlike Old= Not as young as she used to be

8 Descriptive terms accompanying or occurring in place of a name William the Conqueror Star Cross’d Lovers Discreet Telemachus Often make use of repeated/stock phrases (clichés)

9 Old English for a man's good name on others' lips 'fame, praise,' or dom, loosely 'the good judgment of others,' related to the verb 'deem‘ was the final goal of the heroic life. It is no accident that the last word of the poem should be lof-geornost 'most eager for fame.'

10 Reasonably predictable series of events that happen to heroes across cultures in poems like this. General requirements of the epic hero cycle: A charge, from a god or someone else to take on a quest/mission A test, to determine one’s worthiness to complete the task A mentor, to guide the seeker in his/her quest. Helpers (animal, human, or mystical) to assist in the quest A Main Antagonist, often supernatural A Magical/Unreal World visited by the hero that others are not able to enter An Escape from the Quest, where the hero questions his commitment A Resurrection, where the hero seems to return from death or a death-


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