Literary Terms & Epics Notes

Name: ________________
Block: __________________
Beowulf Notes
Literary Terms, Epic Poems, & Epic Heroes
Literary Terms:
Alliteration- The repetition of the initial consonant sounds in neighboring words
“From a friendless foe, feeble, and wretched”
“Up from the swampland, sliding silently”
Allusion- A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or
work of art.
Archetype- A perfect example, clear and exact.
Caesura- A natural pause or break in the middle of a line of poetry (sometimes
punctuated by a comma, period, or semicolon).
Greetings to Hrothgar. I am Hygelac’s kinsman,
One of his hall-troop. When I was younger,
Kennings- A two-word metaphorical name for something.
Whale-Road = Sea
Bone-house = Body
Word-hord (e) = Story
Epic Poetry:
Elements of epic poems1. A long narrative poem about a quest, told in formal,
elevated language
2. Includes elements of myth, legend, folk-tale, and history
3. Epic-hero: a character with a trait that is valued by his
society; in Anglo-Saxon society he seeks immortality
through fame.
4. Quest- A journey through which the protagonist learns
(and possible earns) something
5. Valorous Deeds- These brave deeds often follow long,
formal speeches about the hero’s previous super-human
6. Divine Intervention- The hand of God (or gods) that helps
the hero, proving his value.
7. Great Events- The hero has a hand in something
important in the history or mythology of a culture; often,
the fate of a nation rests on his shoulders.
The Epic Hero Archetype:
An epic hero is…
1. Strong: Excels in skill, strength and courage.
2. Ethical: Values honor and glory. They have a strong moral code
that they follow.
3. Quest: Usually trying to achieve a goal (almost always achieves
it). Meets many monsters and temptations along the way. Often
accepts challenges and invites problems.
4. Glorified: Succeeds in war and adventures. Is known for their
heroic deeds.