Beowulf

Admirable Qualities of the Anglo-Saxon hero warriorstrong proudable boastful generous just loyal/faithful/responsible fatalist/pessimist no such thing as immortality except as remembered in tales told by scops
What are the Anglo-Saxon Poetic Literary Conventions? AliterationRepetitionDigressionsrythmiccaesurakenning
digression flash back or flash forward
How was oral storytelling accompanied? drums or strumming
caesura major pause sometime mid-line in a line of poetry used for emphasis or drama
kenning forerunner of metaphor
What is an example of a kenning and what does it mean? whale road: oceanbone chamber: skeleton
When was the Anglo-Saxon period? 410- 1066
Why did the era of the Anglo-Saxon’s end? The Battle of Hastings and the spread of Christianity to Scandinavia
What qualities did the Anglo-Saxons have? aggressive and bullish people who raided other lands
poetry a major genre of literature and includes dramatic, narrative, and lyric forms
prose writing that is not drama or poetry
epic poems tell tales of gods and heroes
narrative poems tell stories
lyric poem a highly musical type of poetry that expresses the emotions of a speaker
sonnet a 14-line poem, in iambic pentameter, that follows one of many rhyme schemes
themes a central message or perception about life revealed through a literary work
elegiac poetry that mourns the dead
dramatic poem relies heavily on dramatic elements such as monologue and dialogue
monologue speech by a single character
dialogue conversation involving two or more characters
concrete poem a poem whose words are arranged on the page to reflect its content
stanza a group of lines in a poem that varies in average length from two to eight lines
rhyme scheme the pattern of end rhymes
end rhymes rhyming words at the ends of lines of verse
slant rhyme the rhyming sounds are similar but not identical
internal rhyme words rhyme within lines
meter a regular rhythmic pattern
rhythm the pattern of beats, or stresses, in a line or verse
feet the units that stressed and unstressed syllables are divided into
figurative language writing or speech meant to be understood imaginatively instead of literally
What are the types of figurative language? hyperbolepersonification simileunderstatement
What are the different types of sound devices? repeition refrain aliteration assonance
repetition the intentional reuse of a sound, word, phrase, or sentence to emphasize ideas or create a musical effect
refrain a repeated line or group of lines
alliteration the repetition of initial consonant sounds
assonance the repetition of vowel sounds in stressed syllables that end with different consonant sounds
epic a long narrative poem that portrays the heroic acts of legendary figures and mythical gods
hyperbole deliberate exaggerations made for effect
Themes of Beowulf honor and loyalty to a lordquest for wisdominevitability for sufferingvalue of life
Who is Beowulf? The protagonist of the epicThe strongest and most able Geatish warrior
Describe Heorot. For what purpose was it built? Heorot is a mead-hall built for Hrothgar and his men. It was his palace where he and his men stayed and had parties
Why did Grendel begin attacking the Danes? Grendel attacks the Danes because he feels left out of their merriment and celebrations
For how many years (winters) did Grendels attacks continue? 12 years
Who is Grendel’s ancestor? Cain
What is Wulfgar’s opinion of Beowulf and his men? Wulfgar does not trust Beowulf and his men. He shows this by making them leave their weapons with him while they speak to Hrothgar.
What does Unferth think of Beowulf? Unferth doesn’t believe that Beowulf can defeat Grendel and thinks he is too full of himself.
What do you think Hrothgar means when he tells Beowulf that “Fate ever goes as it must”? You cannot change your fate, whatever is destined to happen to you will happen.
What thoughts does Beowulf have as he waits for Grendel to appear (which show early signs of ‘hubris’ (excessive pride—possibly a flaw in the epic hero’s character)? Beowulf believes he can beat Grendel and is almost sure of it. His hubris is being too boastful and proud of his own accomplishments.
How does Beowulf manage to defeat Grendel? He defeats Grendel by tearing his arm off from the shoulder down which caused Grendel to bleed to death
What does Beowulf keep as a “trophy” of his battle with Grendel? Grendel’s arm
After Grendel’s defeat, how does Hrothgar reward Beowulf? He throws a huge feast for him and showers him with gifts of gold and other precious things.
Whom does Grendel’s mother murder and what does she take? Grendel’s mother murders the best friend of Hrothgar and takes the arm of Grendel that was hanging in Herot.
Beowulf prepares for this second battle in a different way. What does he wear and what does he take? He wears a helmet and a mail shirt and takes Hrunting, one of the men’s swords with him into the lake
Describe the mere (lake). The mere is boiling with blood, and is home to many sea serpents and monsters.
What is fantastical about Beowulf’s journey to the lair? Beowulf travels for a few hours underwater which is very unrealistic.
How does Beowulf become victorious in the battle with Grendel’s mother? Beowulf is saved by his chain mail shirt which stops Grendel’s mother’s blade from piercing him. He then picks up a sword made by giants which was magical and slays the she-monster.
How and why was treasure stolen from the dragon’s barrow? A poor man who was on the run from an enemy took the treasure from the dragon. The man had nothing and wished to flee his homeland with at least some treasure.
Why doesn’t Beowulf fear the dragon? Beowulf doesn’t fear the dragon because he is so proud of himself and believes God is on his side.
Why does he want to fight the dragon alone? He wants to fight the dragon alone because he wants to prove that he is still a tough and honorable man.
How are both Beowulf and the dragon mortally wounded? Beowulf is killed by the dragon, who sinks it’s claws into the warrior’s neck. The dragon is killed by Beowulf who slices the dragon in half.
Before he dies, what does Beowulf ask Wiglaf to do for him? Why is this important to Beowulf? Beowulf asks Wiglaf to orchestrate his funeral and burial. This is important to Beowulf because he wants people to always remember him and his great achievements.
What does Beowulf give to Wiglaf of particular importance? What does this action symbolize and perhaps foreshadow as well? Wiglaf is given Beowulf’s necklace which symbolizes his kingship and his status as the best warrior in the land. This foreshadows that Wiglaf will become the “next Beowulf”.
pyre funeral fire
Who is the helper of heroes? God

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