Beowulf

Why is Beowulf special? (3 reasons) It was the 1st great work of English national literature, it’s the oldest poem in the English language, and it encompasses common themes still in modern English literature
What does Beowulf establish regarding the Anglo-Saxons? Anglo-Saxon morals
Beowulf nephew of Higlac, king of the Geats, of noble blood, loved by the Geats
Where is Beowulf from? Where is he going? S. Sweden but he’s going to Denmark
Hrothgar King of the Danes, smart politician
Wiglaf skilled warrior, of Beowulf’s select band only one to assist Beowulf in his last battle against the dragon, may be related to Beowulf, annointed by Beowulf as the next king
Brecca Beowulf’s friend who he has a swimming match with
Welthow Queen of the Danes
Unferth Hrothgar’s courtier, challenges Beowulf at a feast, jealous of him, big-mouth drunk
Grendel evil monster hated by God, loves killing, violent
Where does Grendel live? at the bottom of a foul mere, or mountain lake
Grendel’s mother water-witch who seeks revenge on Beowulf for Grendel’s death
Dragon fire-breathing serpent monster that defeats Beowulf in Part II
Herot golden guest-hall
What DON’T we know about Beowulf? who wrote it, when exactly it was written, or how much is historically accurate
What is Beowulf written in? old english
What IS historically accurate about Beowulf? some characters actually existed
What does the actual poem probably date from? the 700s
When was the story set? earlier than the poem, around 500 A.D
What are the characters and setting in Beowulf considered? pagan
What kind of references are there a lot of in Beowulf? Christian
How was Beowulf passed down? orally
Where was Beowulf set? what is now Denmark
NO action took place in _____________ England
What poetry styles does Beowulf use? alliterative verse and kennings
alliterative verse repetition of initial sounds of words
caesura pause in the middle of a line (beats 2 and 4)
kenning compound metaphor
scop bard/poet/storyteller accompanied by a harp, they pass down the history of the people
thane a warrior
mead hall a place to meet and drink (in the story, Herot)
wyrd fate, pagan notion
what characterizes an epic poem? has heroes, long poem, narrative, has an epic hero
primary folk/epics told out loud
epic hero embodies values of his society, on a quest
elegy a poem that’s sad or mournful
what are the themes in Beowulf? (4) the search to attain a measure of immortality by performing heroic deeds, the importance of a civilized, orderly society, courage in the face of death, loyalty
who were the earliest inhabitants of Britain? Iberians
who where the inhabitants at the time of Roman invasion? the Celts
who led the invasion? Julius Caesar
What did the Romans build? roads, baths, and walls
What was the biggest wall the Romans built? What was it’s length? Hadrian’s Wall, 70+ miles
Why did the Romans leave Britain? Barbarian invasions and trouble back home
When did the Romans leave Britain? in the 400s
What happened to the native inhabitants after the Romans left Britain? they were taken over by the Angles, Saxons, and the Jutes
Where where the Angles and Saxons from? Germany
Where were the Jutes from? Denmark
What did Sutton Hoo do? gave historians lots of information about the Anglo-Saxons
What did Alfred the Great do? helped repel the Viking/Danish invaders
What ended the conflict between the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes? the norman conquest
When did the conflict between the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes end? 1066
What did Anglo-Saxons look highly upon? kinship, loyalty to chief, generosity to thanes was prized in a leader
What language gained respect? English
Why were monasteries important? they preserved works of literature and learing
What religion replaced Paganism? christianity

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