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Anglo Saxon poetry notes

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					                Characteristics of Anglo–Saxon Poetry
 An epic is a long narrative poem that tells the great deeds of a larger than life
    hero, who embodies the values of a particular culture.
 Characteristics of an epic
              deals with a significant event for the culture or mankind in general
              source is typically a combination of history and myth
              includes dramatization and interpretation through dialogue
              elements of the supernatural
              may include battles of major proportions
              may begin with a statement of theme or an invocation to some
                spiritual power
              style of language is dignified, formal, and makes use of elaborate
                rhetorical devices


 The epic hero is the central figure in an epic who has superior qualities and risks
    personal danger to pursue a grand quest.
   Characteristics of an epic hero
              great leader
              broad setting
              hero does great deeds in battle
              gods or supernatural beings are usually involved
              story told in heightened language
 Beowulf as an Epic Hero
              superior physical strength
              very ethical
              must defeat monsters that embody dark powers
              glorified by the people he saves
 Several literary devices were used to help scops memorize these tales
     o Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in words that are close
        together in a poem or the repetition of consonant sounds that are similar.
              “So Hrothgar’s men lived happy in his hall.”
     o Compounding occurs when two words are merged to create a new word
            doghouse, barefoot, backstabbing
            foerhseoc – “life-sick” or mortally wounded
     o Kennings are special kinds of metaphors that use compound words,
        prepositional phrases, or possessives to name a person, place, thing, or
        event indirectly.
            banhus – “bone-house” or the human body (compounding)
            “candle of heaven” – the sun (prepositional phrase)
            “whale’s road” – the ocean (possessive)
     o A Caesura is a strong pause in a line of verse, like a rest functions in
        music. It usually separates the line in two in Anglo-Saxon verse.
     o Rhythm is the accented syllables or beats in a line

				
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