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Beowulf & Old English Introduction

Beowulf_Introduction
by

Amy Sampson

on 9 September 2013

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Transcript of Beowulf & Old English Introduction

Epic Poetry: Beowulf
Scop
Anglo-Saxon
Epic
Relates the great deeds of a hero
Reflects values of the society
Includes myth, folklore, and legend
Tone is serious
Language is grand
Epic Hero
Old-English Poet who would travel and sing or recite the tale of great men and battles. If you were sung about while you were still living, you were probably very famous or important to a group of people.
Super-human
Undertakes a quest to achieve something of tremendous value to his society. May deliver long speeches.
Protects his people and their ideals, yet at the same time his own fame and glory are of utmost importance.
Epic Conventions
A formal plea for aid to a deity or spiritual power
in Medias Res
in the middle of the action
Epic Similes
Kennings
Epithets
Kennings
A metaphorical phrase or compound word used to name a person, place, or thing. Modern day kennings include: eye candy, gas guzzler, rug-rat, and couch potato.
Shining Leak
Silver Snake
Whale-Road
Sword
Sea
Old English vs. Middle and Modern
Epithets
Adjective or descriptive phrase to regularly characterize a person, place, or thing
Peter the Great
Richard the Lion-Hearted
America the Beautiful
Romans
Vikings
Danish
Celts
1099 AD
Somewhere around 700 A.D., “The Beowulf-Poet” (identity is unknown) wrote down the poem which for many years had been sung/spoken. The poem was transcribed by a Monk more than likely. We know this because of the mentioning of things related to God and the Bible. It is written by an English (Anglo-Saxon) monk who is looking back in time to the days when his ancestors still lived in Scandinavia and by a different code of ethics. (The Anglo-Saxon code was on its way out, soon to be replaced by Christian values)
What you just heard was the English language in its beginnings.
http://www.pastperfect.org.uk/sites/yeavering/archive/prayerclip.html
Anglo-Saxon Code
Friendship
Loyalty
Fame, Honor
Bravery
Generosity
Man-Price
Thane’s duty to his Lord; Lord’ duty to his Thanes
Full transcript