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Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poetry Essay

The hero, usually protected by or even descended from gods, performs superhuman exploits in battle or in marvelous voyages, often saving or founding a nation or the human race itself. The main characteristics of the Epic Hero include the following:

1 . The hero is introduced in the midst of turmoil, at a point well into the story; antecedent action will be recounted in flashbacks.

2. The hero is not only a warrior and a leader, but also a polished speaker who can address councils of chieftains or elders with eloquence and confidence.

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3. The hero, often a deem-god, possesses distinctive weapons of great size and power, often heirlooms or presents from the gods.

4. The hero must undertake a long, perilous Journey, often involving a descent into the Underworld, testing his endurance, courage, and cunning.

5. Although his fellows may be great warriors (he may have a committals, or group of noble followers with whom he grew up), he undertakes a task that no one else dare attempt.

6. Whatever virtues his race most prizes, these, the epic hero as a cultural exemplar, possesses in abundance.

7. The concept of ARet (Greek for “bringing virtue to perfection”) is crucial to understanding the epic protagonist.

8. The hero gains little honor by slaying a lesser mortal, but only by challenging heroes like himself or adversaries of superhuman power.

9. The two great epic adversaries, the hero and his antagonist, meet at the climax, which must be delayed as long as possible to sustain maximum interest.

10. The hero’s epic adversary is often a “god-despiser”, one who has more respect for his own mental and physical abilities than for the power of the gods. The adversary might also be a good man sponsored by lesser deities, or one whom the gods desert at a crucial moment.

1 1 . The hero may encounter a numinous phenomenon (a place or person having a vine or supernatural force) such as a haunted wood or enchanting sorceress whose strength, cunning, and divine assistance he must use to overcome obstacles Old English heroic poetry is the earliest extant in all of Germanic literature. It is thus the nearest we can come to the oral pagan literature of Germanic culture, and is of such inestimable value as a source of knowledge about many aspects of Germanic society.

The “traditional epics” (also called “primary epics” or “folk epics”) were shaped by a literary artist from historical and legendary materials which had developed out of the oral traditions of his nation during a period of expansion and warfare. To this group are ascribed the Iliad and Odyssey of the Greek Homer, and the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf . The “literary” or “secondary” epics were composed by sophisticated craftsmen in deliberate imitation of the traditional form. One such example is Virgin’s Latin poem the Manned, which later served as the chief model for Million’s literary epic Paradise Lost.

Virgil and Milton wrote ‘secondary’ or literary epics in imitation of the earlier ‘primary’ or traditional epics of Homer. They adopted many of the conventions of Homer’s work, including he invocation of a muse, the use of epithets, the listening of heroes and combatants, and the beginning in medias rest which refers to the notion of action beginning in the middle of critical moments. An ‘epic’ or ‘heroic’ poem falls into one of two patterns, both established by Homer: the structure (and allegory to life) may be either war or Journey, and the hero may be on a quest or pursuing conquest.

Features of legend building evident in epic include the following:

1 . The hero’s near-invulnerability;

2. The hero’s fighting without conventional weapons (as in Beowulf wrestling Greened);

3. The hero’s inglorious youth;

4. The hero’s auspicious birth, an attempt at the reconstruction of the early life of a notable adult;

5. Transference of the deeds and events associated with one hero to another of similar name. Such events would include the god’s arming a hero ( a metaphor for wondrous strength so great it must have seemed to have divine origins) and the hero is descending to the Underworld ( a metaphor for facing and)

6. Historical inclusiveness: the poem presents a whole culture although the action is localized, flashbacks and inset narratives geographical and chronological scope to include the whole oft culture heroes;

7. The hero is a dramatic protagonist in each scene of a play the stage Milton employed the epic machinery of Homer and Virgil while their ethos from that of the man of action to that of the man of and love. In attempting to make this shift, Milton was surely race heroic poem is essentially non-Christian since it is based on the physical action, a warrior and military leader.

Although an epic original (primary), it must be unified in plot and action, and not Coming to heroic poetry, Anglo-Saxon in particular, the focus s primary epic – these epics were composed without the aid of w to a musical accompaniment. Thus, the composition of the oral cause it was constructed for recreational purposes. They are structure – the episodes can be detached from the whole and separate poems or stories. The heroic ideal suggests that the e epic are more concerned with their own personal self-fulfillment the personal concept of heroism, and the self-fulfillment and id hero.

The national concept is secondary. The language in the o repetitious use of stock phrases and descriptions to aid its oral tending toward pleasing the ear rather than the eye. Focus is p spoken word. The movement tends to be cyclical, encompassing return. The primary epics were developed in cultures that had sectional identity or unity: Greek city-states, for instance. Exam include: the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the most essential one, con this essay, Beowulf. Beowulf, a complete epic, is the oldest surviving Germanic epic longest and most important poem in Old English.

It originated transmitted orally from one generation to the next; court poets the bearers of tribal history and tradition. The version of Oboe hero’s auspicious composed by a Christian poet, probably early in the 8th cent intermittent Christian themes contained within the epic, although themselves, are not integrated into what is essentially a pagan elaborate the hero’s fearless and bloody struggles against MO courage, honor, and loyalty as being the chief virtues in a world s-. Ere. TN s Beowulf is a solid and comprehensive example of native epic p alliterative unrushed rhythm. 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 within English literature. By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around 700 AD. , much of its material had been in circulation in oar reiterative form for many years.

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. Elements of the Beowulf story–including its setting and characters–data back to the period before the migration. The action of the poem takes place around 500 A. D. Many of the characters in the poem–the Swedish and Danish royal family members, for example–correspond to actual historical figures.

Originally pagan warriors, the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian invaders experienced a large-scale inversion to Christianity at the end of the sixth century. Though still an old pagan story, Beowulf thus came to be told by a Christian poet. The Beowulf poet is often at pains to attribute Christian thoughts and motives to his characters, who frequently behave in distinctly UN-Christian ways. The Beowulf that we read today is therefore probably quite unlike the Beowulf with which the first Anglo-Saxon audiences were familiar.

The element of religious tension is quite commonplace in Christian Anglo- Saxon writings (The Dream of the Rood, for example), but the combination of a pagan story with a Christian narrator is fairly unusual. The plot of the poem concerns Scandinavian culture, but much of the poem’s narrative intervention reveals that the poet’s culture was somewhat different from that of his ancestors, and that of his characters as well. The world that Beowulf depicts and the heroic code of honor that defines much of the story, is a relic of pre-Anglo-Saxon culture.

The story is set in Scandinavia, before the migration. Though it is a traditional story–part of a Germanic oral tradition–the poem as we have it is thought to be the work of a single poet. It was composed in England (not in Scandinavia) and is historical in its perspective, recording the values ND culture of a bygone era. Many of those values, including the heroic code, were still operative to some degree when the poem was written. These values had evolved to some extent, over the course of the intervening centuries and were continuing to change.

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In the Scandinavian world of the story, tiny tribes of people rally around strong kings, who protect their people from danger–especially from confrontations with other tribes. The warrior culture that results from this early feudal arrangement is extremely important, both to the story and to our understanding of Saxon civilization. Strong kings demand bravery and loyalty from their warriors, whom they repay with treasures won in war. Mead-halls such as Hero in Beowulf were places where warriors would gather in the presence of their lord to drink, boast, tell stories, and receive gifts.

Although these mead-halls offered sanctuary, the early Middle Age were a dangerous time, and the paranoid sense of foreboding and doom that pervades throughout Beowulf evidences the constant fear of invasion that plagued Scandinavian society. The Island of 303 Varian of the pa n;, arrear,l. ‘et Char poets cue TTL. RВ± sort Uralic That Bebop to some inure would Tim AC,TTY. Only a single manuscript of Beowulf survived the Anglo-Saxon centuries, the manuscript was all but forgotten, and, in the 17 destroyed in a fire.

It was not until the nineteenth century that the document emerged among scholars and translators of Old hundred years of Beowulf prominence, interest in the poem historical–the text being viewed as historical source material f concerning the Anglo-Saxon era. It was not until 1936, when the Tolkien (who later wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, influenced by Beowulf) published a groundbreaking paper .NET Monsters and the Critics,” that the manuscript gained recognize f art.

As far as the significance of Beowulf is concerned, it is now WI presented as the first important work of English literature, Cree that Beowulf is in some way the source of the English canon. B widely read until the sass and not widely regarded as an IM the sass, Beowulf has had little direct impact on the develop until the mid-to-late twentieth century, at a time when Beowulf writers, and, since then, it has had a marked impact on the woo and poets. Beowulf is often referred to as the first important work of liter though it was written in Old English, an ancient form of the la evolved into the English now spoken.

Compared to modern En heavily Germanic, with little influence from Latin or French. As developed, after the French Norman conquered the Anglo-As English was gradually broadened by offerings from those Lang English is derived from a number of sources. As a result, its vow synonyms. The word “kingly,” for instance, descends from the caning, meaning “king,” while the synonym “royal” comes from synonym “regal” from a Latin word. Old English poetry is highly formal, but its form is quite unlike English.

Each line of Old English poetry is divided into two Hal caesura, or pause, and is often represented by a gap on the p Because Anglo-Saxon poetry existed in oral tradition long beef the verse form contains complicated rules for alliteration dies poets, remember the many thousands of lines they were require Each of the two halves of an Anglo-Saxon line contains two star alliterative pattern must be carried over across the caesura. A syllables may alliterate except the last syllable; so the first and alliterate with the third together, or the first and third may all second and third may alliterate alone.

In addition to these rule often features a distinctive set of rhetorical devices. The most kenning, used throughout Beowulf which is a short metaphorical description of a thing used in place of the thing’s name; thus a ship might be called a “sea-rider,” or a king a “ring-giver. ” Some translations employ kenning almost as frequently as they appear in the original; others, moderate the use of kenning in deference to a modern sensibility. But the Old English version of the epic is full of them, and they are perhaps the most important rhetorical device present in Old English poetry.

Speaking of the kind of verse line used for epic poetry in a given language, it should e mentioned that it is known as HEROIC LINE: the dactylic hexameter in Greek and Latin which is the most important form of a metrical verse line of six feet; the iambic pentameter in English which is a metrical verse line having five main stresses unrushed as in blank verse or rhymed as in the heroic couplet; the alexandrine in French – the division of the line into two groups of six syllables, divided by a caesura; the hemispherical line in Italian – verses written in lines of eleven syllables.

As far as heroic quatrain or heroic stanza, a group of verse lines forming a section of a memo and sharing the same structure as all or some of the other sections of the same poem, is concerned, it is not used for epics but so named because it employs the English heroic line. Having presented various aspects of Beowulf as an essential example of Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry, such elements as themes, motifs and symbols used in Beowulf should now be taken into consideration. ‘Themes’ are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

The Importance of Establishing Identity As Beowulf is essentially a record of heroic deeds, the concept of identity – of which he two principal components are ancestral heritage and individual reputation–is clearly central to the poem. The opening passages introduce the reader to a world in which every male figure is known as his father’s son. Characters in the poem are unable to talk about their identity or even introduce themselves without referring to family lineage. This concern with family history is so prominent because of the poem’s emphasis on kinship bonds.

Characters take pride in ancestors who have acted valiantly, and they attempt to live up to the same standards as those ancestors. While heritage may provide models for behavior and help to establish identity–as with the line of Danish kings discussed early on–a good reputation is the key to solidifying and augmenting one’s identity. Shield Seafood, for example, the legendary originator of the Danish royal line, was orphaned; because he was in a sense fatherless, valiant deeds were the only means by which he could construct an identity for himself.

While Beowulf pagan warrior culture seems not to have a concept of the afterlife, it sees fame as a means of ensuring that an individual’s memory would continue on after death–an understandable preoccupation in a world here death seems always to be knocking at the door. Tensions between the Heroic Code and Other Value Systems Much of Beowulf is devoted to articulating and illustrating the Germanic heroic code, which values strength, courage, and loyalty in warriors; hospitality, generosity, and political skill in kings; ceremoniousness in women; and good reputation in all people.

Traditional and much respected, this code is vital to warrior societies as a means of understanding their relationships to the world and the menaces lurking beyond their boundaries. All of the characters’ moral Judgments stem from the code’s mandates. Thus, individual actions can be seen only as either conforming to or violating the code. The poem highlights the code’s points of tension by recounting situations that expose its internal contradictions in values. The poem contains several stories that concern divided loyalties, situations for which the code offers no practical guidance about how to act.

For example, the poet relates that the Danish Hilbert marries the Frisian king. When, in the war between the Danes and the Frisian, both her Danish brother and her Frisian son are killed, Hilbert is left doubly grieved. The code is Los often in tension with the values of medieval Christianity. While the code maintains that honor is gained during life through deeds, Christianity asserts that glory lies in the afterlife. Similarly, while the warrior culture dictates that it is always better to retaliate than to mourn, Christian doctrine advocating a peaceful, forgiving attitude toward one’s enemies.

Throughout the poem, the poet strives to accommodate these two sets of values. Though he is Christian, he cannot (and does not seem to want to) deny the fundamental pagan values of the story. The Difference between a Good Warrior and a Good King Over the course of the poem, Beowulf matures from a valiant combatant into a wise leader. His transition demonstrates that a differing set of values accompanies each of his two roles. The difference between these two sets of values manifests itself early on in the outlooks of Beowulf and King Warthogs.

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Whereas the youthful Beowulf, having nothing to lose, desires personal glory, the aged Warthogs, having much to lose, seeks protection for his people. Though these two outlooks are somewhat oppositional, each character acts as society dictates he should given his particular role in society. While the values of the warrior become clear through Beowulf example throughout the poem, only in the poem’s more didactic moments are the responsibilities of a king to his people discussed. The heroic code requires that a king reward the loyal service of his warriors with gifts and praise.

It also holds that he must provide them with protection and the sanctuary of a lavish mead-hall. Hoarder’s speeches, in particular, emphasize the value of creating stability in a precarious and chaotic world. He also speaks at length about the king’s role in diplomacy, both with his own warriors and with other tribes. Beowulf own tenure as king elaborates upon many of the same points. His transition from warrior to king, and, in particular, his final battle with the drag reiterates the dichotomy between the duties of a heroic warrior and those of a king.

In the eyes of several of the Seats, Beowulf bold encounter with the drag morally ambiguous because it dooms them to a kingliness state in which they re vulnerable to attack by their enemies. Yet Beowulf also demonstrates the sort restraint proper to kings when, earlier in his life, he refrains from usurping Hay throne, choosing instead to uphold the line of succession by supporting the appointment of Haggler’s son. But since all of these pagan kings were great w in their youth, the tension between these two important roles seems inevitable ultimately irreconcilable. Motifs’ are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes. The Oral Tradition Intimately connected to the theme of the importance of establishing one’s idée the oral tradition, which preserves the lessons and lineages of the past, and h spread reputations. Indeed, in a culture that has little interaction with writing, the spoken word can allow individuals to learn about others and make their Tories known.

This emphasis on oral communication explains the prevalence bards’ tales (such as the Hero scoop’s relating of the Finishing episode) and warriors’ boastings (such as Beowulf telling of the Berea story). From a broad perspective, Beowulf itself contributes to the tradition of oral celebration of cue heroes. Like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Beowulf was passed on orally over ma generations before being written down. The Mead-Hall The poem contains two examples of mead-halls: Hoarder’s great hall of Hero Denmark, and Haggler’s hall in Eastland.

Both function as important cultural institutions that provide light and warmth, food and drink, and singing and re Historically, the mead-hall represented a safe haven for warriors returning fro battle, a small zone of refuge within a dangerous and precarious external world continuously offered the threat of attack by neighboring peoples. The mead-h also a place of community, where traditions were preserved, loyalty was rear and, perhaps most important, stories were told and reputations were spread.

Symbols ‘Symbols’ are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract or concepts. Because ritual behaviors and tokens of loyalty are so central to pa Germanic culture, most of the objects mentioned in Beowulf have symbolic sat bayonet’s noun tenure as transition from warrior t. Reiterates the dichotomy morally ambiguous became vulnerable to attack dye TTL restraint p’ paper to kings throne. Root,s. En instead appointment of Hugely’: ultimately irreconcilable ‘Motifs’ drew recur r Inning star develop ant Inform the I Intimately connected to the oral trait. N. “. ‘which spread reputations, Indeed the spotВ«en nor d can all( stories knave. ‘RL This meme bards’ tales (such as the warriors’ hosier,gas {cut perspective, Beowulf its her LEG Hornet’s Lila, generations before being The Mead-Hide The poem contemns two f Demander timid Hecklers Institutions that provide Historically. The mead-he continuously’ tottered the also a place of commune; nod, perhaps [ghost iron ‘Symbols’ are bootees. Chi. Or concepts erases rite Germanic culture, most( just for the readers but also for the characters in the poem.

The Golden Torque The collar or necklace that Halloween gives Beowulf is a s loyalty between her people and Beowulf–and, by extension, symbolic object is reinforced when we learn that Hugely id furthering the ideas of kinship and continuity. The Banquet The great banquet at Hero after the defeat of Greened, re rider and harmony to the Danish people. The preparation the damaged mead-hall, which, in conjunction with the ban rebirth of the community. The speeches and giving of gifts, this society’s interactions, contribute as well to the sense of Returning to the presentation and the transmitting of the SST placed upon the ‘scoop. It is an Old English name for the pr harpist and poet-singer, normally a member of a royal houses shaper and conservator in England of Old Germanic poetic and honored class, sharing with his audience a critical inter commanded a mastery of the complex oral-formulaic mater prosody hardly comprehensible to lettered societies. His re than necromantic court verse: he was also a folk historian: a celebrations of heroic boldness and sacrifice, mingled with secular or Christian morality, have been preserved in later part of the Anglo-Saxon poetical corps..

It is likely that the try depended less upon the personality and talent of an individual formulaic materials with which he worked, the cooperative audience, and their common familiarity with traditional the to distinguish between the art of popular and courtly poet court glean and that perhaps of a chieftain who might TA a lay himself; or that of a warrior-singer whose function as incidental to his personal knowledge of a battle; or even the like Academe, who had no training as a singer, but who nevi art of narrative verse on Christian themes in what must have thoroughly traditional manner.

The elegiac theme, a strong undercurrent in Beowulf, is cent Wanderer and The Seafarer. In these works, a happy past is precarious and desolate present. In this heroic poetry, all of greatness is measured less by victory than by perfect loyal extremity. Just for the readers but also for the char The collar or necklace that Halloween gal. loyalty between her people and Beowulf;; hemolytic object is reinforced when we lea furthering the ideas of kinship and concur The great banquet at Hero after the defy order and harmony to the Danish people. He damaged mead-hall, which, in conjunct rebirth of the community. The speeches this society’s interactions, contribute as Returning to the presentation and the tram placed upon the ‘scoop_’ It is an Old English harpist and poet-singer, normally a met shaper and conservator in England of Lot and honored class, sharing with his audio commanded a mastery of the complex ROR prosody hardly comprehensible to letterer than necromantic court verse: he was alls elaborations of heroic boldness and sacra secular or Christian morality, have been part of the Anglo-Saxon poetical corps..

It depended less upon the personality and formulaic materials with which he worker audience, and their common familiarity to distinguish between the art of popular court glean and that perhaps of a chic a lay himself; or that of a warrior-singer v, incidental to his personal knowledge of a like Academe, who had no training as a is art of narrative verse on Christian theme: The elegiac theme, a strong undercurrent Wanderer and The Seafarer. In these word precarious and desolate present.

In this retreats is measured less by victory dhal Taking into consideration an elegy as a genre common in world literature, and that very is condition and poetry’s function, independence literatures, elegies are formally defined in Old English, elegy is more oaf “mode” or m of many types, all using the basic four-stress we see evidence that the poet’s Job as keep produced frequent occasions on which the in sadness. Like the biblical psalmist, however generalize the consequences of Time’s cord turning the poems into fleece, sad condemned are celebrated in the epic war songs: rings, and the great halls of kings.

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Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poetry Essay
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The hero, usually protected by or even descended from gods, performs superhuman exploits in battle or in marvelous voyages, often saving or founding a nation or the human race itself. The main characteristics of the Epic Hero include the following: 1 . The hero is introduced in the midst of turmoil, at a point well into the story; antecedent action will be recounted in flashbacks. 2. The hero is not only a warrior and a leader, b
2021-07-12 23:40:55
Anglo-Saxon Heroic Poetry Essay
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