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Beowulf PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Beowulf. an epic poem. What is an epic or a saga?. A long story, often in the form of a poem Based on historic or legendary events Tells the exploits of a hero Characters & events are exaggerated and glorified. Beowulf as Literature. Earliest example of English poetry 3200 lines long

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Beowulf

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Beowulf

an epic poem


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What is an epic or a saga?

  • A long story, often in the form of a poem

  • Based on historic or legendary events

  • Tells the exploits of a hero

  • Characters & events are exaggerated and glorified


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Beowulf as Literature

  • Earliest example of English poetry

  • 3200 lines long

  • Sounds include rhythm & alliteration

  • Does not rhyme

  • Language is Anglo-Saxon -- an early form of English


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History of the Poem

  • Setting: Denmark and Sweden in the 500-600’s

  • Composed orally between 700-900

  • Author (or authors) unknown

  • Performed by bards (storytelling singers/poets)

  • First written about 1000 by monks

  • Monks may have changed the original pagan references to Christian ones


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Beowulf in Danger!

  • England in 1600--King Henry VIII orders all monasteries destroyed

  • manuscript eventually ended up with Sir Robert Cotton (collector of manuscripts, books, coins)

  • kept in one of the largest private libraries in England

  • one century after his death, Cotton’s house caught fire


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  • manuscript badly scorched, some parts were totally destroyed

  • moved to the British Museum in 1753

  • 1786--Danish scholar, G.J. Thorkelin made two copies of Beowulf and took them back to Denmark

  • Thorkelin’s library and papers destroyed in 1807


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. . . except Beowulf!

  • Thorkelin started over, published his version in 1815

  • conservation of the manuscript began in 1845

  • now in the British Library in London


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The Story of Beowulf . . .

and why it’s cool

  • a poem in three parts, each with a monster


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The Setting of Beowulf . . .

Norway

Sweden

Denmark

Modern Germany


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The Story of Beowulf . . .

and why it’s cool

  • Part 1 - Beowulf sails from Sweden to Denmark with fourteen warriors to help King Hrothgar get rid of Grendel


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The Story of Beowulf . . .

and why it’s cool

  • Part 2 - A relative of Grendel’s gets involved in revenge


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The Story of Beowulf . . .

and why it’s cool

  • Part 3 - Fire-breathing dragon is rudely awakened


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Characters (the humans)

  • Beowulf, a Geat (from southern Sweden)

  • Hrothgar, King of the Danes (from Denmark)

  • Unferth, a Dane

  • Higlac, King of the Geats, Beowulf’s uncle

  • Queen Welthow, Hrothgar’s wife

  • Queen Higd, Higlac’s wife

  • Wiglaf, a Geat, Beowulf’s cousin


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Life During the Time of Beowulf

  • AD 500-600

  • Viking culture in Scandinavia

  • Farmers, fishermen, & seafarers

  • Warrior culture: loyalty, courage, revenge

  • Raided coastal Europe


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Entertainment

  • People gathered and listened to heroic stories

  • Poems were sung and accompanied by harp


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page of the Beowulf manuscript


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Feasting in a great hall


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Sir Robert Cotton


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Thorkelin’s manuscript of Beowulf


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Viking ship


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