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Lesson 3-British Folk Heroes And Folklore
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Lesson 3-British Folk Heroes And Folklore


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  • 1. Understanding British History
  • 2.
    • A body of expressive culture, including stories, music, dance, legends, oral history, etc.
    • Folklore helps us better understand cultures from the past and present
    • In studying the folklore, we can better understand the history we’ve covered in class
  • 3.
    • The legend of King Arthur begins around the time of the “fall of Rome”
    • At this time, Britain was being invaded by the Anglo-Saxons.
    • Today, nobody is sure of the true origins of King Arthur, but many believe he originated from Celtic legend.
    • Through the stories of King Arthur, we can see the values from Celtic, Roman, and Medieval (Feudalism) culture
  • 4.
    • There are many versions of the King Arthur legend, but many of the ideas are similar
    • From the period of Celtic and Roman Britain
      • There is the threat of the Anglo-Saxons
      • Through the stories the values of honor, loyalty, hospitality, honesty, justice and courage.
      • In Welsh language Arthur means “bear”- The bear was considered a god in Celtic culture
    • From the period of feudalism
      • The Knights of the Round Table-represents equality
      • Chivalry- the values of bravery, courtesy, honor and courtesy towards women.
      • Later stories involve Christianity (religion)
  • 5.
    • Beowulf is often considered one of the most important works in British literature
    • Takes place in Scandinavia
    • Originally told orally, but first written in Britain
  • 6.
    • King Hrothgar and his people are terrorized by the monster Grendel.
    • Beowulf comes to help fight the monster, and defeats him.
    • Beowulf becomes famous and is given gifts (gold, jewels, etc.), but the people are soon threatened by Grendel’s mother.
    • Grendel’s mother and Beowulf have an underwater battle in which Beowulf kills her.
    • Beowulf becomes a great king and rules for fifty years.
    • Then, a large dragon begins to kill many of Beowulf’s men. Beowulf prepares for his last battle.
    • Beowulf dies in this final battle. His body is burned and his people bury him with lots of treasure.
  • 7.
    • The story reveals a “heroic code of honor”
    • “ The Warrior Culture”- Kings are meant to protect their people. The kings demand loyalty and bravery from their subjects.
    • The mead hall-A gathering place to drink, tell stories, and receive gifts. It is considered a sacred and safe place.
    • Grendel and the dragon, represent a time of constant invasion.
  • 8.
    • A popular hero in British culture.
    • His story originates in the 12 th and 13 th centuries
    • “ Robs from the rich and gives to the poor.”
    • Constant conflict with nobles (suppress the people)
    • Prince John- A greedy man who wants to become king. Many peasants suffer under his rule with his taxes and laws.
  • 9.
    • Taxes and harsh laws (remember when we discussed the Magna Carta or The Great Charter?)
    • The system of feudalism cannot work if power is abused.
    • Through the stories of Robin Hood (There are many tales!), one can see the class struggles found in period of feudalism.
  • 10.
    • Wallace is considered one of Scotland’s greatest heroes.
    • Helped start a revolt against British rule.
    • Eventually captured by the British. He was tortured and executed (killed).
    • Robert the Bruce (we have seen him in the movie Braveheart) we eventually lead Scotland to independence.
  • 11.
    • Oliver Twist was a novel written by Charles Dickens
    • Oliver is a young orphan who is forced into labor, becomes a thief and is constantly abused.
    • Oliver finally escapes and moves to the countryside.
  • 12.
    • The horrible life of poor people in large cities
    • The exploitation of children
    • The crowded cities are a dark place
    • The countryside is ideal