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Literary Devices in Beowulf

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Katelyn Williams

on 11 November 2014

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Transcript of Literary Devices in Beowulf

Literary Devices in "Beowulf"
By: Katelyn Williams
Summary of "Beowulf"
The Importance of "Beowulf"
THree Literary Devices in "Beowulf"
Alliteration
Kenning
Caesura
The repetition of an initial sound in neighboring words of a poem.
A metonym that uses highly figurative language to take the place of a simple noun.
A gap or comma in a line of poetry that indicates a rhythmic pause.
Quote from Text
Explanation
Quote from Text
Explanation
Quote in Text
Explanation
Beowulf, an epic hero of the Geats, is known for his strength and bravery. He likes to fight with only his own power. He lets fate decide weather or not he or his opponent will die. In the poem, he battles three antagonists: Grendel, who has been attacking the mead hall in Heorot and feasting on its citizens, Grendel's vengeful mother, and later in life after returning home and becoming king, he fights a treasure-guarding dragon. Beowulf is killed tragically by the dragon. After he dies, he is burned and buried in a tomb by his soldiers.
"Beowulf" is an ancient Anglo-Saxon poem. It reflects the early European culture.
"A powerful monster, living down
In the darkness, growled in pain impatient
As day after day the music rang..." ("Beowulf" 38).
"He twisted in pain,
And the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder
Snapped, muscle and bone split..." ("Beowulf" 49).
"Built to withstand the blows, the struggling
Great bodies beating at is beautiful walls;
Shaped and fastened with iron, inside
And out, artfully worked, the building
Stood firm, Its benches rattled, fell
To the floor, gold-covered boards grating
As Grendel and Beowulf battled across them,"
("Beowulf" 48).
"By hell-forged hands..." ("Beowulf" 41).
"And the Geats' ring-giver did not boast of glorious
Victories in other wars..." ("Beowulf" 60).
"Had finished the fire-spitting terror
That once protected tower and treasures
Alike; the gray-bearded lord of the Geats..."
("Beowulf" 64).
"Out from the marsh, from the foot of the misty
Hills and bogs, bearing God's hatred,
Grendel came, hoping to kill," ("Beowulf" 46).
This quote helps the reader imagine a huge, lonely, and miserable monster that is Grendel. It emphasizes the "p" and "d" sounds.
These lines give an impression that the battle was hard-fought using the hard "b" and "g" sounds.
This line emphasizes the "s" sound and evokes a gruesome, graphic image in the readers mind of Grendel's destruction.
This emphasizes that Grendel is probably a demon from Hell.
"Fire-spitting terror" is the dragon. The kenning highlights his evil abilities. "Gray-bearded lord of the Geats" is a description of Beowulf as a wise, noble, and courageous leader.
"Ring giver" is another name for a king or lord. A king gave rings to his followers after they pledged their allegiance. Beowulf was the King of the Geats in the later part of the poem.
This caesura is read at a slow pace. It gives an ominous rhythm that builds suspense into the future events.
The use of caesuras are important because the different rhythms set different tones for the reader.
Kennings are important because they give a reader a better idea who a character or entity in a work is. They "draw" a better picture of the entity.
Alliterations are important because the repetition of the beginning sounds of words set different appropriate tones and paints different images for the reader when they read a particular scene at that particular point of the work.
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