the epic epic hero and beowulf n.
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The Epic, Epic Hero, and Beowulf

The Epic, Epic Hero, and Beowulf

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The Epic, Epic Hero, and Beowulf

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  1. The Epic, Epic Hero, and Beowulf Anglo-Saxon England

  2. Epic Hero • Superhero • Brave, strong, good • Usually high social status • Important in his people’s history • “Larger-than-life” (Superman, ex) • Embodies the ideals of his people

  3. The Epic Tale • LONG narrative poem • Formal language • Tells the story of the Epic Hero • Most not written; told by storytellers, called scops and gleemen (or “singers of tales”), probably accompanied by music • Very few complete written epics survive

  4. Plots of Epics Involve • Supernatural events • Long time periods; Distant journeys • Life & death struggles between good and evil • Hero: ALWAYS REPRESENTS GOOD • Forces that threaten the people: ALWAYS REPRESENT EVIL • Defeat of evil determines fate of nation

  5. The Anglo-Saxon Epic Hero: • Anglo-Saxon ideals for hero: -courage -physical strength -loyalty to tribe or king -wisdom -supreme self-confidence

  6. Beowulf • Set in: 6th or 7th century (500s-600s a.d.) “Imagine a time when tribes from Europe regularly raided one another’s shores to loot and burn each other’s settlements; when great warriors feasted, drank, and bragged of their bloody conquests in huge meadhalls…; when kings bestowed riches upon their braves warriors to retain their allegiance; when people believed in monsters and dragons” (Glencoe British Literature, 43).

  7. Beowulf • Place: NOT ENGLAND • Set in Scandinavia • Involves: The Geats-tribe from southern Sweden The Danes-tribe from Denmark

  8. Why is it considered English? • Scandinavians were part of the Anglo-Saxons • When Anglo-Saxons settled in a place, their stories came with them

  9. More on Beowulf’s History • Oldest known English literary work -A scop probably first wrote Beowulf down in 700s -Oldest known, surviving manuscript was written 300 yrs. later by unknown author

  10. Beowulf: Names • Hrothgar: King of the Danes • Grendel: monster that terrorizes Danes • Beowulf: from family of Kings of Geats; hero • Grendel’s mother: seeks revenge on Danes

  11. Herot: name of Hrothgar’s mead hall • Hrunting: Beowulf’s sword

  12. Poetic Devices in Beowulf Scops and gleemen needed poetic devices to help remember tales and give stories greater impact • Alliteration: repetition of similar consonant sounds (Ex: miserable, mighty men tormented) • Caesura: anobvious pause in a line of poetry, usually found near middle of line, w/ 2 stressed syllables before and 2 after. Indicated with //. (Ex: A prince of the Geats// had killed Grendel) 3. Kenning: An imaginative phrase that takes the place of a single noun (Ex: whale-road=sea; life-house=body)

  13. Literary Elements in Beowulf • Foreshadowing: hints about what’s to come. Ex from Beowulf: “But fate, that night, intended/ Grendel to gnaw the broken bones/ Of his last human supper…” (293- 295) *Look for another example of foreshadowing as you read; write down the line numbers*

  14. Vocabulary for Beowulf • Lament (n): an expression of sorrow, OR a song or writing that mourns a death (V): to express sorrow • Forged (v):formed or shaped; made • Shroud(n): burial cloth • Infamous (adj): famous for something bad; notorious • Writhing (v): twisting in pain • Spawned (v): born

  15. Lair (n): den of a wild animal • Reparation (n): payment to make up for a wrong or injury; indemnity • Linden (adj): wooden • Scabbard (n): case that protects the blade of a sword • Hilt (n): a sword’s handle