AN EPIC IS:pg.1 • sometimes called a heroic poem. • a long narrative poem about the adventures of larger-than-life characters. • sometimes called a literary epic.
EPIC HEROESTEND TO HAVE THESE CHARACTERISTICSpg.2 • The hero is a great leader strongly identified with a particular people or society. • The setting is broad and often includes the upper and lower worlds. • The hero does great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey. • Sometimes the gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action. • The story is told in heightened language.
THE THEME OF BEOWULFpg.3 • Heroic Deeds: A way to Immortality – The recounting of heroic deeds is a major feature of Anglo-Saxon literature. The ancient heroes quested to overcome evil, even loneliness, and by so doing, they hoped to win a place in the memory of their people.
THE EPIC FORM OF BEOWULFpg. 4 EPIC – a long narrative giving the story of heroic deeds accomplished by a hero of above-average strength and ability. • Hero undergoes perilous adventures for the sake of the tribe or nation. • Sometimes the hero accomplishes his task with little assistance. (other times the gods may intervene) • Comes from oral tradition of history • Classical epic opens with invocation to the Muse of epic poetry. -followed immediately by a crucial moment of action. (in medias res, in the middle of) 5. Also has flash backs, repetitions, catalogues, stock phrases, epithets, hospitality codes, epic boasting , intervention of gods and also visits to Hades.
THE HEROpg. 5 • The concept of the hero comes out of epic poetry in which historical, geographical, and spiritual elements are incorporated to make the adventure significant enough to carry moral truth. • Beowulf represents both himself, as one who seeks immortality through fame, and the tribal group. He may die, but the group will be saved; his honor is preserved, and that honor strengthens the people. Because of these qualities, he draws followers naturally. • The stature of the hero is frequently measured by the formidable qualities of his adversary. The monster can be analogous to Cain and the serpent, animal and spirit, as well as other forms of evil incarnate with the hero as its antithesis.
Epic Elementspg. 6 • 1. Address to the Muse (Invocation) (prayer) • 2. Conflict • 3. Beginning (In media res) (In the middle of) • 4. Flashback • 5. Return to present • 6. Repetitions
EPIC ELEMENTS CONT.pg.6 cont. • 7. Catalogues (long lists – the poet would devise long lists of famous princes, aristocrats, warriors and mythic heroes to be lined up in battle and slaughtered) • 8. Stock phrases • 9. Epithets (Short nickname like – fleet-footed Achilles or grey-eyed Athena) • 10. Hospitality Code • 11. Epic boasting • 12. Intervention of gods (Supernatural) • 13. Visit to Hades • 14. Affects entire nation • 15. Vast setting • 16. Narrative format
MONSTER QUALITIESpg. 7 • 1. cruel • 2. alien • 3. uses magic • 4. strange dwelling/home • 5. unnatural strength • 6. beast-like • 7. no values/morality • 8. alone/alienated
HERO QUALITIESpg. 8 • 1. leadership • 2. sincerity • 3. courage • 4. warrior • 5. strength • 6. fearlessness • 7. modesty • 8. honor • 9. self-sacrifice • 10. concern for the group
BEOWULF LITERARY TERMSpg. 9 • 1. caesura - \si zhoor’ e\ - n. a pause or break in a line of verse. • 2. kenning – metaphorical compound words or phrases that indicate a person or thing by a characteristic or quality (ex/ ring-giver=king) • 3. alliteration – the repetition of the same initial letter, sound or group of sounds in a series of words. • 4. personification – giving animate characteristics to an inanimate object