Beowulf - Haiku Learning

The Beginnings of English Literature
author; possibly one Christian author in Anglo-Saxon England
date of composition (roughly 8th-11th Century CE)
Literary Devices
__________________: Biblical, Germanic oral tradition, Norse myth and legend,
historical Anglo-Saxon kings (eg. King Offa of Mercia)
__________________: (eg. Scyld’s strong son)
__________________: a long narrative poem written in elevated style which celebrates
the deeds of a legendary hero or god.
__________________: a compound (usually two words, often hyphenated) that
employs figurative language in place of a more concrete single-word noun.
The Poetics of Beowulf
The Anglo-Saxon oral poet also used the poetic device of ____________________.
________________: the repetition of consonant sounds in words close together.
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste.
The emphasis on the w sound in this line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30 creates a
melancholy tone.
Find and underline examples of alliteration in Burton Raffel’s translation of lines 1-5:
Out from the marsh, from the foot of misty
Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatred,
Grendel came, hoping to kill
Anyone he could trap on this trip to high Herot.
The Setting of Beowulf:
Beowulf was a war leader of the Geats, a group of people in what is now southern
Hrothgar was king of the Danes
Old English
Beowulf was written in Old English, an early form of English
Old English was spoken in the Middle Ages from about 6th century to 11th century CE
In 1066, William the Conqueror successfully invaded England, the nobility began to
speak French, and gradually Old English evolved into Middle English (1100-1500)
Modern English has been spoken since the Renaissance – Shakespeare is NOT Old
English; he is Early Modern English
Example: “Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote/The droghte of March hath perced to
the roote”
Elements of an Epic
1. _________________
a. a character with a trait or characteristic that is valued by his society.
b. (E.g.– Superman’s bravery or valor)
2. _________________
a. A journey through which the character or the reader learns something
3. _________________
a. Doing something bravely.
4. _________________
a. The hand of God (or gods) help the hero, proving his value.
5. _________________
a. The hero has a hand in something important in the history or mythology of a
2 Types of Epics
1. _____________________
 Told out loud first
 Unknown author
 Unknown dates
 (E.g.—Beowulf is a folk epic because we don’t know who wrote it)
2. _____________________
 Known author
 (E.g.– Paradise Lost, by John Milton is a literary epic because we know who
wrote it.)
3 Epic Conventions
1. ___________________________________________________
2. ___________________________________________________
3. ___________________________________________________
Not necessary to have all on these, but need most at least
Examples of Epic Stories
a story you’ve read or seen as an epic story. Here are a few that may be
Dante’s Divine Comedy
The Odyssey
Robin Hood
Lord of the Rings
Star Wars (Who is the Hero?)
The Matrix
Batman Begins
 Definition:_________________________________________________________
 Examples:
 _______________________
 _______________________
 _______________________
Man-eating monster who lives at the bottom of a foul mere, or mountain lake.
Water-witch who seeks revenge.
Giant fire-breathing serpent whom Beowulf fights in Part Two of the epic.
King of the Danes
A Geat warrior, one of Beowulf’s select band and the only one to help him in his final
fight with the dragon.
Nephew of Higlac, king of the Geats.
Beowulf’s Name