Table of Contents Context Though it is often viewed both as the archetypal Anglo-Saxon literary work and as a cornerstone of modern literature, Beowulf has a peculiar history that complicates both its historical and its canonical position in English literature. By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around a. The Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples had invaded the island of Britain and settled there several hundred years earlier, bringing with them several closely related Germanic languages that would evolve into Old English.
Historical background[ edit ] Approximate central regions of tribes mentioned in Beowulf, with the location of the Angles in Angeln. See Scandza for details of Scandinavia's political fragmentation in the 6th century. The events in the poem take place over most of the sixth century, after the Anglo-Saxons had started migrating to England and before the beginning of the seventh century, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or were still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany and southern Scandinavia.
The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins. Though Beowulf himself is not mentioned in any other Anglo-Saxon manuscript,  scholars generally agree that many of the other figures referred to in Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources.
Specific works are designated in the following section. In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejrewhere Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i. Eadgils was buried at Uppsala according to Snorri Sturluson.
When the western mound to the left in the photo was excavated inthe finds showed that a powerful man was buried in a large barrow, c.
The eastern mound was excavated inand contained the remains of a woman, or a woman and a young man. The middle barrow has not been excavated.
Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a giant's sword that he found in her lair. Later in his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, and finds his realm terrorized by a dragonsome of whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound.
He attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns or servants, but they do not succeed. Beowulf finally slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the struggle.
He is cremated and a burial mound by the sea is erected in his honour. Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts.
The poem also begins in medias res or simply, "in the middle of things," which is a characteristic of the epics of antiquity. Although the poem begins with Beowulf's arrival, Grendel's attacks have been an ongoing event.
An elaborate history of characters and their lineages is spoken of, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, and deeds of valour.
The warriors form a kind of brotherhood linked by loyalty to their lord. What is unique about "Beowulf" is that the poem actually begins and ends with a funeral. At the beginning of the poem, the king, hero, Shield Shiefson dies 26—45 and there is a huge funeral for him.
At the end of the poem when Beowulf dies, there is also a massive funeral for Beowulf — Grendel[ edit ] Beowulf begins with the story of Hrothgar, who constructed the great hall Heorot for himself and his warriors. In it, he, his wife Wealhtheowand his warriors spend their time singing and celebrating.
Grendel, a troll-like monster said to be descended from the biblical Cainis pained by the sounds of joy. Hrothgar and his people, helpless against Grendel, abandon Heorot.
Beowulf, a young warrior from Geatland, hears of Hrothgar's troubles and with his king's permission leaves his homeland to assist Hrothgar. Beowulf refuses to use any weapon because he holds himself to be the equal of Grendel. This display would fuel Grendel's mother's anger in revenge.
Grendel's mother[ edit ] The next night, after celebrating Grendel's defeat, Hrothgar and his men sleep in Heorot. Grendel's mother, angry that her son has been killed, sets out to get revenge.
Earlier, after the award of treasure, The Geat had been given another lodging"; his assistance would be absent in this battle. Hrothgar, Beowulf, and their men track Grendel's mother to her lair under a lake. Unfertha warrior who had doubted him and wishes to make amends, presents Beowulf with his sword Hrunting.
After stipulating a number of conditions to Hrothgar in case of his death including the taking in of his kinsmen and the inheritance by Unferth of Beowulf's estateBeowulf jumps into the lake, at the bottom of which he finds a cavern containing Grendel's body and the remains of men that the two have killed.
Grendel's mother and Beowulf engage in fierce combat. At first, Grendel's mother appears to prevail. Beowulf, finding that Hrunting cannot harm his foe, puts it aside in fury. Beowulf is again saved from his opponent's attack by his armour.
Beowulf takes another sword from Grendel's mother and slices her head off with it.Hrothgar (Old English: Hrōðgār [ˈr̥oːðgɑːr]; Old Norse: Hróarr) was a legendary Danish king living in the early 6th century..
Hrothgar appears in the Anglo-Saxon epics Beowulf and Widsith, in Norse sagas and poems, and in medieval Danish chronicles. In both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian tradition, Hrothgar is a Scylding, the son of Halfdan, .
A summary of Themes in 's Beowulf. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Beowulf and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and . The epic poem Beowulf was written in Old English, also called Anglo-Saxon, We have heard of the glory of the kings of men among the spear-bearing Danes in days of long ago.
We have heard The Anglo-Saxon language of Beowulf is filled with compound words called kennings, which.
Sep 24, · Beowulf: Themes The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is the most important work of Old English literature, and is well deserved of the distinction. The epic tells the story of a hero, a Scandinavian prince named Beowulf, who rids the Danes of the monster Grendel, a descendent of Cain, and of his exploits fighting Grendel 's mother and a Dragon.
Beowulf is an epic poem composed in Old English consisting of 3, lines. It is written in the alliterative verse style, which is common for Old English poetry as well as works written in languages such as Old High German, Old Saxon, and Old Norse. Beowulf is considered one of the oldest surviving poems in the English language.
The author of the poem is unknown and is generally referred to. Port Manteaux churns out silly new words when you feed it an idea or two. Enter a word (or two) above and you'll get back a bunch of portmanteaux created by jamming together words that are conceptually related to your inputs..
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