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Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
Beowulf study guide
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Beowulf study guide

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  • 1. Terms• Archetype – pattern or model , Beowulf possess archetypal classic hero characteristics• Hierarchical – ranking one thing over another political - social system of the Anglo-Saxons King the head, nobles, warriors, then peasants• Anglo-Saxon – Germanic tribes that founded early Europe, warlike structure• Epic poem - long serious poem about a hero
  • 2. Terms continued…• Hubris – overly inflated sense of pride, it usually leads to a literary hero’s demise• Classic Literary Hero – the archetype in literature that reflects a protagonist that possess heroic characteristics• Heroic Code – Anglo-Saxon political social code, Warriors must demonstrate kinship with their strong leader and stand by him through the end. They must retaliate any attack on a fellow warrior – an eye for an eye
  • 3. Classic Literary Hero Characteristics• Special birth• Call to adventure• Goes on a journey = quest• Crosses the threshold• Talisman – special weapon• Special helper• Faces trials• Achievement of the goal• The return home• Reconciliation with the father figure
  • 4. Historical Background• England is an island - venerable to attacks in this warlike society• Anglo-Saxons had a hierarchal social and economic system• Monarchy and nobles owned land , surfs worked it• Secular festivals - oral tradition -sang poems, Beowulf was sang at these festivals• Religion – is changing from paganism to Christianity - poem was not pagan but started that way – however when the Christian monk writes it down it becomes an allegory (metaphor) for the bible
  • 5. Beowulf – the hero• Archetype of the hero• Special birth - name means bear and wolf – strength• Brave, crosses the threshold, journey from home, faces trials, reaches his goals, talisman (mail)
  • 6. Beowulf• Positive – selfless, glory, brave, cares about saving people, savior• Negative – prideful, hubris blinds the hero, glory and treasure
  • 7. Beowulf as a Holy Savior• Christ-like• Fights Grendel’s mom• During the fight he has his mail – protected by God• Use the dark magic sword to kill Grendel’s mom – created by giants – evil kills evil• Goes to the dark side – “hell” down in the lair, dark, heat, fire coming out, animals would rather die than come to this lair
  • 8. Holy Savior• Chops off Grendel’s head• Water turns black and red• The onlookers believe he is dead - like Jesus• Water turns clear - rebirth• At the end comes out of the lake with the sword – looks like a cross• This battle is the one that best demonstrates the theme of Good vs. Evil
  • 9. Old Beowulf vs. Young Beowulf• Young Beowulf- Selfless, fights for glory, super strength, doesn’t think about death, survives dangerous battles• Old Beowulf- Fights for glory to prove himself, fights for treasure, hubris, men betray him, dies
  • 10. Beowulf – the Poem• Poem is believed to be written by a Christian Monk because they were the only ones who could read and write at the time• A pagan poem becomes a symbol for Christianity• We see elements of both paganism and Christianity with in the poem
  • 11. Examples of the Heroic Code• Beowulf fights for glory• Brings the bravest and best men Denmark• Leaves men behind with the ship when he arrives at Denmark• The battle of Grendel demonstrates Beowulf’s men trying to defend him• After the battle with Grendel’s mother everyone thinks Beowulf is dead and they leave but Beowulf’s men stay behind and wait for him
  • 12. Examples of the Heroic Code cont..• Wiglaf’s speech to Beowulf’s warriors after they abandon him• Beowulf leaves his kingdom to Wiglaf because he is the last of “our far flung family”
  • 13. Paganism vs. Christianity• Poem is written at time when Paganism is dying and Christianity is taking over• Danish people praying to other Gods before Beowulf arrives• Heroic Code – unwritten laws of warrior – kinship – eye for an eye – conflicts with the Christian doctrine of love and “turn the other cheek” – this tension is demonstrated throughout the entire poem
  • 14. The Importance of Establishing an Identity• Beowulf is royalty – father was king and he will become king• Beowulf’s Boast establishes him as a hero – is experienced in fighting monsters, glory, has no fear• Must establish his own path and fight for glory• Travels to a foreign land to fight their monsters• Fights Grendel without weapons• Goes into the monsters’ lair to kill Grendel’s mom

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