Presentation on theme: "A long narrative poem that celebrates the deeds of a great hero."— Presentation transcript:
1 A long narrative poem that celebrates the deeds of a great hero. The EpicA long narrative poem that celebrates the deeds of a great hero.
2 Epic Conventions Story opens in medias res (in the middle of things) Setting is vast (multiple countries)Plot involves supernatural deedsDialogue includes long, formal speechesTheme reflects timeless values and universal ideasCombines history, mythology, and folklore
3 Epic Hero Noble birth or historical importance Character traits reflect ideals of societyCourageous and superhuman deedsActions determine the fate of a nation or group of peopleStrives for honor and fameIs on a QUEST!
4 Oral EpicOriginally, epic poems were an oral art form (both memorized and performed)Epic poems combined history lessons, moral sermons, cultural pride, and character instruction.Beowulf is a folk epic and an elegy.Beowulf was written in the West Saxon dialect of Old English449 A.D. Anglo-Saxon invasion results in mixture of German and Celtic languages producing Old English
5 Beowulf Terms Thane: warrior Comitatus: loyalty between thane and king which was rewarded by treasureWergild: monetary value owed for a man’s death
6 Mead Hall A rectangular hall of entertainment A communal gathering place for feasting and drinking meadMead: An alcoholic beverage made a water and fermented honey. Mead was a popular drink in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries during the Middle Ages because grapes were not readily available to make wine.“Gloomy Hour starting at dusk: Free Mead if you survived!”
7 ScopRevered poet/musician who recounted the history, traditions, and folktales of the culturePerformed in mead hallsKenning: metaphorical compound word or phrase substituted for a noun or name“sin-stained demon”Alliteration: repetition of initial consonant soundsCaesura: pause which divides each four-stress line in half which is essential to the rhythm (Anglo-Saxon poetry)
8 Beowulf and LanguageComposed between 700 A.D. and 900 A.D. in Mercian dialect (transmitted orally for three centuries)Written around 1000 A.D. in West Saxon dialectOld English (Beowulf), Middle English (The Canterbury Tales), Modern English (Shakespeare)Literacy was restricted to the clergy and all manuscripts were written at monasteriesChristianity infused into the local language and oral tradition
9 Beowulf and CultureLiterature is invested in the transmission of belief and identityLiterature is relative to the culture that produced itResidual (original)Dominant (intruding or additional)Emergent (new form arising from fusion of culturesResidual/Dominant/Emergent constantly changing and evolving (culture as an on-going process)