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Beowulf Day 2 . The EPIC POEM . Agenda. 1. Warm-Up – Yesterday’s lesson – What did you learn? 2. Homework Check 3. Beowulf background 4. Read the opening lines of the epic poem 5. Exit Ticket. Essential Questions.

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beowulf day 2

Beowulf Day 2


  • 1. Warm-Up – Yesterday’s lesson – What did you learn?
  • 2. Homework Check
  • 3. Beowulf background
  • 4. Read the opening lines of the epic poem
  • 5. Exit Ticket
essential questions
Essential Questions
  • What was the importance of Beowulf to the Anglo-Saxon people? The English language?
  • What is a kenning?
warm up
  • Identify five things you learned from the history reading last night.
  • Why was oral tradition and language important to the Anglo-Saxons?
who were the anglo saxons
Who were the anglo-saxons?

Beowulf is the longest epic poem in Old English, the language spoken in Anglo-Saxon England before the Norman Conquest. It is one of the most famous works of Anglo-Saxon poetry, and tells the breathtaking story of a struggle between the hero, Beowulf, and a bloodthirsty monster called Grendel.


For many winters, the court of the Danish King Hrothgar has been terrorized by the fearsome monster Grendel, who comes at nightfall to devour men in their sleep. Beowulf kills the monster, and is celebrated as a great hero - but joy turns to horror when Grendel's mother arrives to avenge the killing of her son.


This is the only known manuscript of Beowulf, and dates from c.1000. However, the poem is much older than this manuscript - some historians believe it might date right back to c.750.

the language of beowulf
The language of Beowulf
  • Beowulf is much admired for the richness of its poetry - for the beautiful sounds of the words and the imaginative quality of the description. About a third of the words in Beowulf are words known as kennings.

Kennings are words that are in themselves metaphorical descriptions, and were a typical feature of AS poetry. Kennings combine two words to create an evocative and imaginative alternative word. By linking words in this way, the poets were able to experiment with the rhythm, sounds and imagery of the poetry. Beowulf contains over a thousand kennings.


Some well-known Anglo-Saxon kennings include:

  • bone-house (banhus ) - the human body
  • battle-light (beadoleoma) - sword
  • wave-floater (wægflota) - ship
  • Descriptions of the sea included:
  • whale road (hronrad)
  • fish home (fiscesethel)
  • seal bath (seolbæp)
exit ticket
  • IDENTIFY one new aspect about Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons you learned today!