Beowulf Background and Intro

Report
Beowulf
Introductory Information
Warning!
Reading Beowulf will
challenge your brain!
but…
After, you will be smarter…and
that is always a cool thing!
Getting Started
 Check-in:
– Write at least 5 things you know about
Beowulf.
– Write at least 2 reasons you think we
are reading it in class.
 Group
Check-in:
– List 5 mythical/fake heroes
– List 5 modern-day, real heroes
Background Information
 The
Text
– It is a heroic epic poem!
– Written about 1000 A.D.
– Story takes place in late 5th Century
 When
was that, anyway?
– Trojan War was in 1180 BC or so
– Anglo-Saxons were just settling in
England & NW Europe
 German ancestry and lingual influence
More about the Text…

Written in Old English
A
language used by Anglo-Saxons from 500-1100
A.D.
 Heavy Germanic (early NW Europe) influence
 Foundation of today’s English language
 Let’s have a listen!

Has been translated numerous times
– A wee bit of controversy

One original copy exists in the British
Library
The Actual Text
Was damaged a bit
in a fire back in the
day.
The Perspective
 Written
with a Christian perspective
– Society was mostly pagan
 Pagan?
– a person that believes in a polytheistic religion
(many gods), as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
– a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
 Story
was passed among people
 Considered the first important work
of English Literature.
How is Beowulf a Poem?

Some poetic and literary devices used:
– Similes

Using like or as
– “she is like a rose”
– Metaphors

Saying something is something else
– he is a pig
– Kennings

A poetic phrase for a person or thing
– Sky-roamer = dragon; tail-turners = deserters
– Bone-cage = body; sail road = ocean
– Foreshadowing

A hint of what is to come
– Alliteration

Repetition of initial sound group or letters to a series of
words
– All the H-names!
Epic Poems

Epic Poem:
– A long poem that tells a story
– Involves someone overcoming large obstacles
– Often includes important events/ideas
significant to a nation or culture

It is an EPIC poem because
– Beowulf is a hero with great strength that
faces impossible odds to prove himself
– It’s long
– Culture and history is part of the story
More literary terms to know

Allusion:
– Reference to a historical or literary figure, event, or
object


Story example: Cain and Abel
Foil:
– A person who, through strong contrast, emphasizes or
enhances the distinctive characteristics of another


Example: Venom
Theme:
– A major idea/lesson of life conveyed in a work

Symbolism:
– Use of symbols; use of an object to represent or suggest
another
Some things to think about
 Characters
 Plot
 Setting
 History
 Themes
Let’s Get Rollin’

How will we read the poem?
Broken into 10 sections
 Lit Groups
 Reading aloud in small groups, reading
independently, and listening to the story
 Find unfamiliar words
 Write down questions you have or that
you may ask others
 Answering Questions
 Final Projects
 …all kinds of stuff

Big Beowulf Breakdown
Lines 1-319
– Pages 3-23
 Lines 320-661
– Pages 23-45
 Lines 662-1007
– Pages 45-67
 Lines 1007-1250
– Pages 67-89
 Lines 1251-1491
– Pages 89-103

Lines 1492-1887
– Pages 103-129
 Lines 1888-2199
– Pages 129-149
 Lines 2200-2537
– Pages 149-171
 Lines 2538-2820
– Pages 171-191
 Lines 2821-3182
– Pages 191-213


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