Beowulf - mathewsenglish

1st English epic
Characteristics of the epic:
1. descent into the underworld
2. larger-than-life hero
3. heroic battle to save community from evil
4. heroic quest
Origin of Beowulf
Written in Old English
From northeast England
700 – 750 A.D.
However, it was probably written down after hundreds of
years of storytelling.
Poet was a monk?
Elements of Beowulf
Beowulf – a Geat from Sweden who sails to Denmark to help
King Hrothgar.
Grendel – monster who kills the Danes
Hero is a dragon slayer
Archetypal battle between good and evil
Wyrd – Old English meaning “fate”
Most Anglo-Saxons, who were non-Christains, believed life
was a constant struggle against evil and life was controlled by
wyrd. The only way of defeating wyrd was to gain personal