Beowulf: epic poetry, epic heroes, and archetypes

Report
Epics, Epic Heroes, and
Archetypes
IT’S TIME FOR A LITTLE NOTE -TAKING:
*Please take out a piece of notebook
paper
*Title your paper “Epics, Epic Heroes,
and Archetypes”
Why I Teach (and Read, and Love) Literature!
 We’ll start the year by reading Beowulf, a poem from
over 1,000 years ago, written in Old English.
 Why bother reading something so extremely OLD?
Why I Teach (and Read, and Love) Literature!
 Good literature has at its core, some
insight into what it means to be a
human being.




What does it mean to be a leader? To be brave?
How and why do we grieve for people we have lost?
What does it take to be a true friend?
What are the costs of betrayal?
 As you read this year, look for universal ideas. Ask
yourself:

What does this book/play/poem, say about the human
condition?
Hero Analysis
 Our first reading for the year, Beowulf tells the story
of an epic hero from the misty reaches of the British
past.
 Take out your poster of your modern day epic hero.
Turn to a neighbor and describe your hero,
responding to the following:
What sort of evil or oppression does the hero face?
 Why does he or she confront evil? What is his/her
motivation?
 What virtues does the hero represent?
(def: virtue-good character trait)

What is an Epic?
 An epic is a long narrative poem that tells of the
great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies
the values of a particular society.
 Examples:


Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
Beowulf and Milton’s Paradise Lost
 Epics often follow conventions or formulas that
helped the oral poets remember and retell the stories
The Epic Hero (8 traits)
The central character in a
long narrative (an epic)
that reflects the values and
ideals of a particular
society
1.



Frodo: The Lord of the Rings
Luke Skywalker
Harry Potter?
 How does Harry Potter
embody the values of his
culture?
The Epic Hero
Goes on a quest
2.


Faces great dangers,
villains, and/or
supernatural beings
Goes to supernatural places
or to the underworld
Risks death for the
glory or greater good of
society
4. Is glorified/praised for
the good he has done
 What quest did Frodo go
on? Why?
3.
The Epic Hero’s Personality
5. Is ethical
6. Is a strong and
responsible leader
7. Performs brave
deeds
8. Has superior or
superhuman
abilities:
The Hero’s Journey:
An Epic Convention
1. Birth/
childhood:
usually marked by
supernatural
events
6. Applying the
“Boon:” the
knowledge or benefit
acquired is put to use
in the everyday world
5. Flight and
Return: the
hero returns to
the everyday
world
2. Tests: hero
leaves on a quest,
faces many
challenges
4. Climax/
Final Battle:
hero faces a
monster, wizard,
warrior or other
villain
3. Helpers: has a
guide or advisor
before tests, and
companions during
the trials
Helpers
 Early on, the hero will
often receive help from
a supernatural figure,
such as a wizard or
fairy godmother
 During trials, the hero
is accompanied by a
loyal companion.
Archetypes
 The epic heroand hero’s journey are archetypes
 An archetype (“ark-uh-type”) is a pattern that
appears in literature across cultures and is repeated
through the ages. Includes:




Character
Plot or action
Image
Symbol
Character Archetypes
 The loyal companion
 The wise and brave leader
 The villain who plots the
downfall of others
Plot Archetypes
 The hero’s journey
 Monster-slaying stories
 A young person seeks to
become an adult
 What common plots are
you familiar with from
books, movies, or TV?
Image and Symbol Archetypes
 Paradise as a garden
 Darkness as death, hell, evil
 Doves for peace
All about Kennings
(from the Vikings to the present day)
Kennings
 are a special form of
compounding words
that are metaphoric
in meaning.
 Examples of Kennings in
Beowulf:
 Gold-shining hall
(Herot)
 Strong-hearted
wakeful sleeper
(Beowulf)
 Cave-guard (Dragon)
Kennings
Kennings = two words fused together with a hyphen
to make a new noun.
The two words can be noun/noun (swan-road
= river) or noun/verb (skull-splitter = axe) and
can be used to make a list describing an
object, emotion, quality or animal, in any
combination.
An example of this kind of simple kenning is:
Round-facer
No-smiler
Still-stander
Two-hander
Night-friendly
Heart-beater
Time-keeper
Sudden-shrieker
What am I?
An alarm clock
Kenning Riddle Activity
You and your group will be creating a riddle using
kennings. It must have:
1.
A title
2.
The definition of kenning
3.
5 kennings as hints
4.
The answer written in pencil on the back along
with the names of the group
Any extra decoration that adds intrigue to the
riddle will earn extra credit
Riddle Competition
You will have 5 minutes to solve as many of the
kenning riddles as you can. The winner will receive a
prize. The group with the best riddle will also receive
a prize.
To prepare you will need:
1. A pen
2. A paper numbered to 10

similar documents