Beowulf terms
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Beowulf Terms. Epic. “An epic is a long narrative poem that celebrates a hero’s deeds. The earliest epic tales survived for centuries as oral traditions before they were finally written down” (28). Stock Epithets.

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Beowulf Terms

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Beowulf terms

Beowulf Terms


Beowulf terms

Epic

  • “An epic is a long narrative poem that celebrates a hero’s deeds. The earliest epic tales survived for centuries as oral traditions before they were finally written down” (28).


Stock epithets

Stock Epithets

  • “Stock epithets are adjectives that point out special traits of particular persons or things. In Homer, stock epithets are often compound adjectives, such as the “swift-footed” used to describe Achilles” (28).


Kennings

Kennings

  • “Kennings are poetic synonyms found in Germanic poems, such as the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. Rather than being an adjective, like an epithet, a kenning is a descriptive phrase or compound word that substitutes for a noun. For example, in Beowulf “the Almighty’s enemy” and “sin-stained demon” are two kennings that are used in place of Grendel’s name” (28).


Alliteration

Alliteration

  • “Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. Poets frequently use alliteration to emphasize particular words or images, heighten moods, or create musical effects. In works of the oral tradition, alliteration was used to aid memorization. For example:

    The ancient blade bit broke, into

    The monster’s skin, drew blood…


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