Beowulf - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Beowulf

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  1. Beowulf an epic poem

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. . . . except Beowulf! • Thorkelin started over, published his version in 1815 • conservation of the manuscript began in 1845 • now in the British Library in London

  8. The Story of Beowulf . . . and why it’s cool • a poem in three parts, each with a monster

  9. The Setting of Beowulf . . . Norway Sweden Denmark Modern Germany

  10. 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

  11. The Story of Beowulf . . . and why it’s cool • Part 2 - A relative of Grendel’s gets involved in revenge

  12. The Story of Beowulf . . . and why it’s cool • Part 3 - Fire-breathing dragon is rudely awakened

  13. 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

  14. Life During the Time of Beowulf • AD 500-600 • Viking culture in Scandinavia • Farmers, fishermen, & seafarers • Warrior culture: loyalty, courage, revenge • Raided coastal Europe

  15. Entertainment • People gathered and listened to heroic stories • Poems were sung and accompanied by harp

  16. page of the Beowulf manuscript

  17. Feasting in a great hall

  18. Sir Robert Cotton

  19. Thorkelin’s manuscript of Beowulf

  20. Viking ship