Beowulf and epic

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Beowulf and epic

  1. 1. Beowulf and the Epic Hero
  2. 2. Epic  Long narrative poem  Aristocratic persons involved in a series of actions usually significant in the development of a nation  Always germane (fitting/relevant) to the subject  Larger than life hero unifies the action  Passed by word of mouth from generation to generation  Viewed as early history of peoples  Finally written down  Cultural records of societies
  3. 3. Epic Form  Hero has heroic and/or superhuman qualities  Poetic lines, formal tone  Supernatural forces such as gods, angels, and demons are present—interest selves in the action and intervene form time to time  Setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world or the universe (upper/lower worlds)
  4. 4. Epic Form  Actions consists of deeds of great valor or requiring superhuman courage  Begins in media res  Long time periods/journeys  Life and death struggle between good and evil
  5. 5. Conventions of an Epic  Opens with a theme  Invokes a Muse for inspiration  Catalogs of warriors and ships  Style is sustained elevation and grand simplicity  Epic poet recounts the deeds of heroes with objectivity  Extended speeches by epic hero
  6. 6. Examples  Illiad  Odyssey  Song of Roland  Aenid  Divine Comedy
  7. 7. Literary Devices  Epithet  A word or brief phrase used to characterize a person, place or thing  Richard the Lionheart  Gray-eyed Athena  Gandolf the Gray  Kenning  A descriptive figure of speech that takes the place of a common noun, especially in Norse/Anglo-Saxon poetry  Sea=whale road  King=ring-giver
  8. 8. Epic Hero  Always male in traditional epics  High social status  Fate affects his people’s destiny  Rarely modest, boasting common  Embodies ideals and values of his people
  9. 9. Beowulf  Oldest known epic  About the Danes and Geats  Also includes Swedes, Frisians, Franks, Heathobards  Beowulf a creation of the poet  No record of his actual existance

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