Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Beowulf A Guide for Study


									Beowulf:   History, Heroes, and Homework
   You might want to know. . .
  A long narrative poem, sometimes
  developed orally, that celebrates the
  deeds of a legendary or heroic figure

  Epic poem composed and written down
  between 8th and 11th centuries based on
  events in 6th century Scandinavia, passed
  down orally in Old English (Anglo-Saxon)
                     Old English - Lit Guide
                                  Lines 4-7a
      Lines 1-3

  Lines 7b-11                       Lines 12-16a
   Short Timeline of Early English
    History: Celts and Romans
• 800-600 BC: The clannish farmers and
  hunters known as Celts invade British Iles
• 55 BC: Romans invade and rule for 300
  years until 407 AD, when they leave to
  defend Rome
• c 407 AD: Germanic tribes, Anglo-Saxons,
  invade, but Celtic Christianity survives
• Late 6th century: monasteries built,
  coversion occurs
       Short Timeline of Early English History:
                Anglo Saxon Period
• 9th Century: Norse and Danes (Vikings) pirate their way through Br.
  Iles, and most of Northern, Eastern, and Central England falls-
  burning monasteries, killing, stealing
• 871- Anglo-Saxon Alfred the Great ascends to Wessex throne and
  resists further Danish expansion
• 886: Truce divides England formally between Anglo-Saxons and
  Danish– Saxons in the South and Danish in the North and East
• End of 10th Century: More Danes invade, attempting to widen
  Danelaw (area ruled by Danes). They succeed, forcing Saxons
  under the rule of Danish kings
• 1042: Line of kings returns to Edward the Confessor, a descendant of
  Alfred the Great (restoring an Anglo-Saxon to the throne)
• 1066: Edward dies, ending the Anglo Saxon period
   Short Timeline of Early English
          History: Normans
• 1066: William, Duke of Normandy
  (descendants of Vikings invading France in
  9th Century) claims Edwards throne due to
  reputed promise and family ties– wins throne
  at Battle of Hastings
• Over next 5 years: William suppresses Anglo-
  Saxon nobility, spreading feudalism
• 1154: Norman rule ends when Henry, Count
  of Anjou, establishes House of Plantagenet
 Short Timeline of Early English History:
 Plantagenets, Lancasters, Yorks, Oh My
• 1170: Four of Henry II’s knights kill Thomas Becket,
  Archbishop of Canterbury, because of a disagreement
  between Henry and Thomas. Henry atones by making
  pilgrimage to Henry’s tomb at Canterbury
• 1215: King John signs Magna Carta to ease strife with
  barons over raised taxes- first English constitutional gov’t
• 1399: House of Lancaster replaces House of
  Plantagenet (Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI)
• 1455-1485: War of the Roses- Lancaster v. York
• War ends when Yorkist Henry VII defeats Richard the III
  and marries Richard’s niece, uniting the two families
• 14th Century- Feudalism on the decline
         Guiding Questions
• What impact hid Anglo Saxon language
  and literature have on today’s English
  language and culture?

• What influence over contemporary
  literature has the epic and the epic hero?

• How is Beowulf a product of it’s time?
Heroism and the Heroic Journey
• Otto Rank- Myth and Birth of the Hero
• Joseph Campbell- The Hero with a
  Thousand Faces
• Both men studied myths and traditional
  stories (i.e. oral tradition hint hint), noticing
  certain patterns, leading to their theories
  about the hero and the heroic journey,
  particularly Campell’s “monomyth”
  Otto Rank’s Pattern for the Life of a Hero

1. Born of mysterious or     7. Often accompanied by
   obscure origin                friends, servants, or
2. Neither fools nor             disciples
   invincible                8. Usually has guide (s)
3. Often faces a threat      9. Descends into darkness,
   when young and must           often involving water or
   be hidden                     wilderness
4. Hero’s way isn’t always   10. Profoundly changed
   direct or clear           11. Usually, what the hero
5. Has a goal                    seeks is no more than a
6. Journey is surrounded         symbol of what he really
   by danger, temptation,        finds
   and loneliness.           12. Suffers physical or
                                 psychological wound
     Joseph Campbell’s Heroic Journey
1. Ordinary World- before journey begins
2. Call to adventure- presented with an adventure
   or challenge
3. Refusal of call- refuses journey or challenge
4. Meeting with the mentor- meets mentor to gain
   confidence, advice, or training for the adventure
5. Crossing the first threshold- crosses gateway
   that separates the ordinary world from the
   special world
6. Cahllenges and temptations: hero faces tests,
   meets allies, confronts enemies, and learns
   rules of the Special World
 Joseph Campbell’s Heroic Journey Cont’d
7. Approach: hero hits setbacks during tests and
    may need to reorganize with help
8. Ordeal: biggest life or death crisis- hero faces
    his greatest fear and is reborn
9. Reward: survives death, overcomes fear, and
    earns the reward necessary to finish
10. Road Back: hero must recommit to the journey
    and travel back to Ordinary World
11. Resurrection: most dangerous meeting with
    death, applying wisdom earned on journey
12. Return : returns with that which heals physical
    or emotional wounds
                Your Assignment
•   How is Beowulf poetic?
•   How is Beowulf heroic?
•   How is Beowulf Anglo-Saxon?
•   How is Beowulf part of the oral tradition?
Each group must create a power point to answer their question. The
  presentation must have at least 6 slides(1 title and 5 example
  slides). The 5 example slides must include one piece of proof for
  your answer and an example from the text with the page number.
  Use quotations from the ENTIRE text, not just pps 1-23
• Review your notes, thinking about issues arising
  from today’s class
• Take notes based on the following websites:
• Complete reading and notes, diagramming plot,
  characters, and tracking the heroic journey in
  Beowulf. You will lead Thursday’s class.

To top