Beowulf: Literary Devices

Beowulf: Literary Devices

Variation
Use of appositives or other renamings Often used in a series.
ex. of variation
“There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,/ a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes” (violent drunk)
Synecdoche
using a part for a whole or a whole for a part. closely related to
ex. of synecdoche
A ring-whorled prow for ship (32) (literary part of a thing)
wheel= whole car
metonymy
the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related. fancy synonym.
ex. of metonymy
Crown for king or steel for sword(soliders protected king) (connected to a thing
crown= king
kenning
a two word compound that takes the place of a simple noun (it can be used to create variation, and often uses synecdoche and metonymy). NOUN FORM of epithet
ex. of kenning
whale road= sea. ring giver= king
litotes
grim, ironic understatement
ex. of litotes
“Cain got no good from commiting that marder..” (lines 109) -banished from the world for killing his brother.
alliterative verse
main verse form of Old English poetry;
Consists of:
– four heavily accented syllables per line
-number of unaccented syllables can very
-caesura(pause) in the middle of the line.
wergild
idea that people had established worth according to their rank in society(an eye for an eye)
ex. of wergild
king to retainer relationship. when beowulf hands grendels arm on ceiling and grendels mom puts aescheres head on a stick
wyrd
mysterious force that determined fates of gods and people according to germanic traditions
ex. of wyrd
god
flyting/beot
outrageous boasting of warriors
protection and generosity
king must give what to retainers
loyalty and power
retainers must give what to king
Chivalry/Heroic Code
rules set for game of war; came from time period’s need to solve tension between warrior culture and spread of Christianity.
gold
constant element that pervaded the Medieval Culture
bard well
versed in pagan tales and traditions who recited the poem.
-orally passed down
christian poet
maybe monk, well-versed in native traditions.
bard well or christian poet
what are the 2 ideas of whose the author of Beowulf?