Men monsters (1)

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Introduction to Early British lit: Beowulf, heroes, monsters

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Men monsters (1)

  1. 1. An Introduction to British Literature
  2. 2. Men:  Men throughout history have fought many monsters, real or imagined.
  3. 3. With every culture and every society, there is a hero
  4. 4. But, how do we define the HERO?  Is it some one with super human strength?  Special powers?  Magic abilities or weapons?  Every day people doing everyday jobs?
  5. 5. The ancient cultures defined heroes as…  Men who were given special abilities and strength by the gods.  They could, themselves, be demi-gods.
  6. 6. How do you define a hero?  Think about what attributes you would assign to a hero and jot them down.
  7. 7. Let’s see if they come close to the Epic Hero!  The epic hero is defined as having some, if not all of the following characteristics:  Super human strength  Has magical weapons that are often heirlooms and made by gods or giants  Goes on a perilous journey, often to the underworld  Is a boastful person who challenges gods & goddesses to give him a challenge in order to prove his mettle and to gain glory & honor.  Has the gift of eloquent speech with nobles and kings.
  8. 8. How did your definition compare? Are these people really heroes?
  9. 9. However you define the term, hero, it doesn’t matter too much these days.  Try to remember though, heroes of old had epics told and sung about them. This is how their glory and honor were preserved.
  10. 10. Monsters  Without monsters, there would be no heroes!
  11. 11. Some famous monsters are:  Giants
  12. 12. Creatures:
  13. 13. Grendel was one such creature in the epic poem, Beowulf.  Beowulf is an epic that is one of the oldest written texts from the 600’s-900’s found within the Anglo Saxon ruins.  The Anglo Saxons were a tribal people comprised of Angles from Germany and Saxons, the people who came from the German lowlands and the Jutes, who came from Denmark.
  14. 14. Etymology  The language spoken by the Anglo- Saxons was known as Old English and had its roots in Germanic and Frisian languages. Old English was spoken during the time of the King, Alfred the Great until the Norman Conquest of 1066. At this time, the language evolved because of the conquest.
  15. 15. Writing  Old English was written with a system of runes that somewhat resembled ancient Greek letters. There are some vague similarities between some of the runes and Greek letters.  The common people did not write, but everything was passed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition.
  16. 16. Christian Influence  The Anglo Saxon people were Christianized between the late 6th century until the late 7th century. At this time, many scholars believe that Beowulf was transcribed by monks to include allusions associated with Christianity. The original epic would not have included these allusions because the people were pagans, believing in many gods.
  17. 17. The epic  As you read the epic, Beowulf, look for the allusions to Old Testament events and people. You should also pay careful attention to the use of alliteration. Alliterative verse often indicates something of importance to the author in the retelling of the tale.

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