Beowulf 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 fame.