1. What exactly is Beowulf?
Beowulf is the oldest surviving Anglos-Saxon epic poem. Anglo-Saxon word “Beo” means “bright” or “noble” and “wulf” means “wolf”, so Beowulf means brighe or noble wolf.
2. What language was it composed in?
It was composed in Old English that is also known as Englisc or Anglo-Saxon and it is an early version of the English spoken today in Britain.
3. When was it composed and what type of poem is it?
Beowulf is thought to have been composed by a single Christian author for a Christian audience in Aglo-Saxon England any time from 8th to the 11th century, but the first recorded written version dates from the 11th century. It is an epic narrative poem. Epic poetry is a long narrative poem written in an elevated style and It celebrates the deed of a legendary hero or god. It tells of legendary people and events and describes a warrior society in which the relationship between the leader, or king, and his warriors, called thanes, is founded on provision and service. This society is strongly defined in terms of kinship.
4. What is the story about?
The first actions take place in a Danish kingdom ruled by King Hrothgar. There, in Heorot, the mead hall of the king, Beowulf confronts a monster (Grendel) that has been terrorising the king and his men for twelve years. Later, Beowulf dives into a misty lake and fights the monster’s mother. The scene of the action then shifts fifty years later to the land of the Geats in Sweden, where and elderly Beowulf (who has become King of Geatland) confronts a dragon terrorising his own land. Once again Beowulf kills the monster, but this time the victory costs him his life.
5. Where do the events in the story take place geographically?
The actions of the poem take place in Scandinavia, but the poem itself was probably written in Northumbria, an important Anglo-Saxon kingdom and home to Roman Chatolic monks who reinterpreted the story in a Christian way.
6. Briefly explain the story behind the manuscript of the poem.
The Beowulf-manuscript was damaged by fire in 1731, but much of its text remains readable. The pages were put into frames but after the fire some of them become illegible. Thanks to the use of ultraviolet lighting, researches revealed more information about the manuscript’s creation.
7. Why is Beowulf important as a work of literature?
Beowulf is important beacuse it’s the oldest Anglo-Saxon poem and It gives modern readers an interesting insight into both the life and customs of early Germanic and Christian culture
8. What is a scop?
A scop is an Anglo-Saxon minstrel, usually attached to a particular royal court, although scops also traveled to various courts to recite their poetry. In addition to being an entertainer who composed and performed his own works, the scop served as a kind of historian and preserver of the oral tradition of the Germanic peoples.
9. What can be problematic about translating a poem like Beowulf?
Maybe a problematic can be that When the translators rewrote the poem, they changed it to their liking by adding or removing some parts. In addition, translate a poem from Old English also means that translators had to translate the rhetorical figures and they had to try to make them fit as much as possible.
10.Who wrote Beowulf?
Its origins are mysterious: the identity of its author is unknown and scholars are unsure of its precise date of composition. The first people that are believed to have transcribed Beowulf from its original manuscript are two monks.