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Transcript of Beowulf Background
legendary hero in pursuit of a goal of national importance. The hero's accomplishments reflect the values of his culture and usually figure prominently into the history or mythology of his people. Elements of the Epic Epic Hero ...is the central character of the epic.
*Larger than life
*Usually of noble or semi-divine birth
*Tests his courage against opposing, often evil
forces Quest ...is a long, dangerous journey
or mission undertaken by the
hero. The quest is the hero's
opportunity to prove his
heroism and win honor and undying renown. Valorous Deeds ...are the actions that demonstrate the hero's
courage, strength, or virtue and make up most of the action in the narrative. Divine Intervention ...when the hero receives help from a god or another supernatural force who takes an interest in the quest. Great Events ...the important events from the history or mythology
of a nation or culture often provide the themes and backdrop
for the epic narrative. Types of Epics Folk Epics: In ancient times when stories about
heroes were recited or sung as entertainment and
passed down orally from one generation to the next.
These stories were usually written down long after
they were first composed. Examples: Beowulf, Sundiata,
Gilgamesh Literary Epics: Written by individual authors, drawing
on the style and conventions of the folk epic. Examples: Illiad and Odyssey,
Aeneid, Divine Comedy, Paradise
Lost Epic Conventions Opens by stating the subject or
purpose, followed by an invocation
of a muse (spirit thought to inspire
an artist) or supernatural force would
help tell the story. The plot begins in medias res Are serious in tone and lofty
in style. So... Make a list!
To make visualizing the action easier, list all sensory details.
What does the character see, touch,
smell, hear, and taste? ...and one more thing... Beowulf is NOT a pagan poem!
There are no pagan gods, idols, or
humans who bite the big one! Anglo-Saxon England had
already been Christianized by
the time this poem made its
debut and the poem is more
concerned with social issues. It is an Old Testament Poem It has a remarkable paraphrase
of the story of Genesis. Hell is...hellish. The tale of Cain and Abel is all over the place. And the moral of the story is: Behave responsibly, love and be faithful to one another
because if Beowulf can do it, so can you...aside from the
fact he is semi-divine...