Beowulf: Epic Analysis

Beowulf: Epic Analysis

what kind of poem was beowulf?
epic poem
how was beowulf composed?
in oral fashion
what is the setting of Beowulf?
set in denmark, (thought to be a viking story but most likely anglo-saxon)
when was beowulf actually written?
700 AD (in old english), 1500 AD (by Rafael to modern english), and as we know it, 1815
what is the biggest emendation of beowulf?
christianity
how many books is beowulf?
43 books (including prologue)
plot: who is the king of danes and what does he build?
Hrothgar, builds Heorot, a mead hall or tavern (pretty much a party stadium)
who are hrothgar’s siblings?
heorogar (died), hrothgar, halga the good (priest), yrse (sister)
how many men did grendel eat the first night?
30 men
how long did grendel plague the danes?
12 years
who was the orphan that became king in the prologue?
scyld scefing
wergild
to pay back what was lost/wronged
how many geats came with beowulf?
14
how long did it take to prepare the ship? to get there?
many days; one day
why did beowulf decide to not use his sword?
heroes always play fair
when it says grendel is “under night’s shroud,” what is shroud associated with?
death
why was grendel only looking for one man?
everyone else was hiding
why did the narrator foreshadow that grendel would die?
so as not to scare the people listening
why does beowulf watch his friend die?
didnt want to steal his glory
who is wulfgar?
bff of beowulf, gets jealous and gives him enchanted sword
what happens to beowulf after he kills “mama grendel”?
becomes king of danes (like hrothgar but without the pride)
how long did beowulf rule?
50 years
how does beowulf die?
by fighting a dragon (killed dragon, too)
what did beowulf’s funeral look like?
cremated, pyre, buried with his armor, food, etc, put ashes in ship that set sail, and wind carried ashes away
what is the structure of beowulf?
written in alliterative verse, use of extensive list of synonymes, kennings
alliterative verse
repetition of sounds, partly consonant, partly vowel, across the line, each line is composed of two parts and theres a caesura between the parts, each half of the line has 2 stressed syllables, and several varying nonstressed syllables
caesura
a break between two parts of a poem
kenning
synonym that’s like a riddle
waif
orphan
how did the anglo-saxons view fate?
as a religious principle, balances good and bad in one’s life
emendation
altering of literature (adds a little bit of “you”) not usually intentional
what does the phrase “giver of rings” mean?
a generous king–since gold rings were valued, a giver of rings meant the king was generous to his people
what does the phrase “whale road” mean?
ocean
why does mama grendel come to danes?
to get her son’s arm back that was put up on the wall of heorot