Beowulf Outline

Beowulf Outline

Author & Overview • Introduce each member of group and what they will be speaking about. * I will be giving an overview of Beowulf and information on the author * Rick will be talking about the setting and characters * Johnny will be discussing the themes and point of view of Beowulf * John will be discussing the irony and symbols * Charlie will be reflecting on Beowulf and talking about the poem’s contribution to society • Introduction needs to provide some sort of relative background. -Summary of Beowulf * King Hrothgar reigns over Denmark as a successful and righteous king.

He builds a mead hall called Heorot, where he and his warriors can gather to celebrate with the king. The noise from the mead-hall bothers Grendel, a demon who lives in the swamps of the kingdom, so at night he murders many of the King’s men. * The Dane’s live in fear of the beast Grendel, until finally Beowulf hears of him and decides to travel to Hrothgar’s kingdom to defeat Grendel. * Beowulf fights Grendel in the mead-hall, unarmed, proving his strength against the beast and defeats him by tearing Grendel’s arm off.

Grendel’s arm is then displayed as a trophy in the mead-hall and Hrothgar praises Beowulf for his heroic deed. * Grendel’s mother is the next beast that Beowulf encounters. She seeks revenge on Beowulf and kills many of Hrothgar’s men and one of Beowulf’s companions, Aeschere. * To avenge Aeschere’s death and save King Hrothgar’s kingdom, he seeks out the demon in the swamp and defeats her too. He finds Grendel’s corpse and brings back his decapitated head to Hrothgar’s kingdom. Hrothgar rejoices Beowulf’s name again and his fame spreads throughout his kingdom. Beowulf then returns to his kingdom, Geatland, where he eventually becomes king after King Hygelac passes on. * He rules Geatland for fifty years, when a dragon begins to terrorize his kingdom. * The last beast is slayed by Beowulf, but he dies too as he is mortally wounded by the dragon biting his neck. He is mourned for and buried on a huge funeral pyre with his treasures overlooking the sea. -Interesting facts about Beowulf Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in English literature. An epic poem is a long narrative poem depicting the story a hero and his deeds. * Beowulf is the longest and greatest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem * The story was not actually written down until around 800 and 900 A. D. and was written in the West-Saxon dialect. It was not transcribed again until 1000 A. D. * Although there is no factual proof that supports Beowulf’s existence, one of the characters Hygelac, was a historical character who was killed in battle Setting: The setting of Beowulf takes place in what is now Denmark and Sweden * Date: The date in which the poem takes place is unknown, but is speculated to have occurred around 550 and 600 A. D. The poem is divided into three different stories centering around the slaying of three different beasts: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a dragon2 • Identify work and author (unlikely written by oral story) * The author of Beowulf is unknown. * The work might have been composed by a poet working at court, or it could have been composed by a poet-monk. It is speculated that the author was probably familiar with court life, a Christian who addressed himself to a royal audience. * Scholars believe that the work could not have been composed before 521 AD because of the reference in the poem to the death of Hygelac. * Many scholars believe that the work could not have been created later than 1000 AD, and was probably written somewhere around 750. * The manuscript was written in the Wessex dialect.