Epic poem - Beowulf
Anglo – Saxon literature was written in Old English; it includes different genres like epic poem, chronicles and riddles. The most important works are three : the epic poem Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the poem Caedomn’s Hymn that is the oldest book in English.
The poetry was anonymous and oral; the poets were called scoops and they entertained the noblemen accompanied by a harp.
Old English prose was born before the reign of King Alfred, who order to translate the book from Latin into Old English; also he order to write the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Old English literature survived the Norman Conquest.
The most important epic poem are The Iliad and The Odyssey written by Homer; another examples of epic poems are the Aeneid of Virgil and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf. Epic poem drives from Greek and meaning “poet’s oral exposition”. The epic poem is a long composition that describes a glorious past of the national history. There are a lot of history references but there are supernatural and mythological events too. The epic poem has four characteristic: a vivid language; describe an aristocratic and military society; there are “type – scenes” like battle and the main theme is heroic life.
A monster, called Grandel, frightens the Danes every night, his attack continues for twelve years. So Beowulf, a young warrior, decided to kill the monster. One night Beowulf attended the monster and fought with its in a hand-to-hand combat and managed to hurt mortally him. Grandel died after. Then Grandel’s mother wonted to revenge for her son. So there was another combat between Grandel’s mother and Beowulf; the hero killed her. After death of king Hygalac Beowulf became a new king. But on night a thief disturbed the dragon that defended a treasure and in a combat between Beowulf and the dragon the hero died.
Beowulf is written in old English; originally it hasn’t got a title and in the 19th century it was called by the name of its hero : Beowulf. Beowulf was an elegy for the king who died in the 7th century. It describes a relationship between the king and his thanes: thanes defended the king an his give them a gold, weapons and silver.
There's an ambiguous role of Christianity in the poem. It is quite certain that Beowulf was composed in a Christian England. The only biblical reference in Beowulf are to the Old Testament, and Christ is never mentioned.
Beowulf is an epic because the setting of the story covers great lands and far off places and the cation consists of brave deeds. Beowulf is a hero in the eyes of his fellow men through his incredible physical strength. Another heroic trait of Beowulf is his ability to put his people’s welfare before his own.
Grandel grabbed and devoured Hygelac’s kinsman. Then Grandel attacked Beowulf’s warriors, they didn’t managed to hurt the monster because their weapons were haunted but only Beowulf managed to hurt mortally Grendel.
In the bed of death, Beowulf gives Wiglaf, his thane, his dying voice. The hero order him to build a tomb on the cost like a lighthouse for help the navigators. Then gives him his helmet and his harness. Finally Beowulf ask Wiglaf to defend his people.
Epic poem - Beowulf
Introduzione al poema epico e analisi di Beowulf, importante opera anglosassone in inglese antico forse risalente all' VIII secolo.
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