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Beowulf  is an Old English heroic epic poem of anonymous authorship, dating as recorded in the Nowell Codex


manuscript from between the 8th  to the 11th century  ,and relates events described as having occurred in what is


now Denmark and Sweden. Commonly cited, as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature,


Beowulf  has been the subject of much scholarly study, theory, speculation, discourse, and, at 3183 lines,


has been noted for its length. In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists:


Grendel, who has been attacking the mead hall in Denmark called Heorot and its inhabitants; Grendel's mother


and later in life after returning to Geatland (modern southern Sweden) and becoming a king, he fights an unnamed dragon.


Beowulf is fatally wounded in the final battle, and after his death he is buried in a barrow in Geatland by his retainers.




·        It consists of 3183 lines.


·        It's originally transmitted orally.


·        It originates from Denmark/Sweeden.


·        It was written down in England in either 700-750 AD by a Christian monk.


·        In it German folklore is combined with Christian statements                      
















         It mentions;




·        Germanic warrior society,


·        Relationship between a leader/king and his thanes,


·        Kinship and blood feuds,


·        Revenge.








·        Beowulf,


·        King Hrethel,


·        King Hrothgar,


·        Grendel,


·        Grendel's mother, Wiglof and many more.








         -Old English,Germanic languages(rich in consonants) 



  • claene ("clean"), crypel ("cripple"), corn ("corn"), cyning ("king")([k],before a consonant or back vowel) (original Germanic sound)
  • ceap ("cheap"), cild ("child"), dic ("ditch")([], next to a front vowel) (new sound derived from Germanic [k])
  • fisc ("fish"), wascan ("wash"), scearp("sharp") ([] in all environments) (new sound derived from Germanic [sk])
  • graes ("grass"), god ("god"), gyltig ("guilty")( [g] before consonants and back vowels) (original Germanic sound)
  • brycg ("bridge"), secg ("sedge"), mycg ("midge") ( [] from Germanic [gg]; in medial or final position) (new sound)
  • gear ("year"), giet ("yet"), gellan ("yell") (semivowel [y] before or between front vowels)







·        CAESURA:Each line is divided into two part.




·       ALLITERATION:Alliteration is the repetition of stressed sounds,particularly consonants from the beginning of words or syllables.Poetically,aliteration can has a similar function as rhyme.




·        COMPOUNDING:Old English poetry makes extensive use of compounding,thecombining of two words to make a new word.


An example is "feorhseoc",literally "life-sick"(feorh=life,seoc=sick),which can be translated as mortally wounded.






·        KENNINGS:Kennings are special form of compounding that are metaphoric in meaning.














·        LITOTES:Underexaggeration.










Part 1


Beowulf begins with a history of the great Danish King Scyld.King Hrothgar, Scyld's grand-son ,is well loved by his people and successful in the war.He builds a lavish hall, called Heorot to gather his soldiers under its roof ,and do celebration.Grendel, provoked by the singing and celebrating of Hrothgar's followers, goes to Heorot and kills thirty of the warriors in their sleep.This continues for the next twelve years.Hrothgar and his advisors can think of nothing to calm the monster's anger.Beowulf ,prince of the Geats ,hears about Hrothgar's troubles and sets sail from his home in southern Sweeden, with his fourteen bravest Geat warriors.They are greeted by Hrothgar and his court.When they gather in Heorot to celebrate the Beowulf's arrival.Grendel turns up at the midnight as usual but Beowulf kills it.









Part 2


Grendel's mother seeking for revenge of her son ,comes to Heorot at midnight and kills the King Hrothgar's chief advisor“Aesohere”.Beowulf,on hearing that,goes after the Grendel's mother ,living at the bottom of the sea.Beowulf tells his men to stay and that he will go alone.Beowulf dives into the sea and kills Grendel's mother with a magical sword.After that,he was presented with treasures by king Hrothgar.After having killed two brutal monsters,he goes home taking his men with him.Soon after that,he becomes the king of the Geats.






Part 3


A slave steals a golden cup from a sleeping dragon's cave.Dragon avenges his loss by flying through the night,burning down houses including Beowulf's own hall and throne.Beowulf goes to the cave where the dragon lives with his men.He is an old man now and he is not as strong as he was when he fought Grendel.Unfortunately,his men except for Wiglof escaped when they see the dragon.The dragon wounds him in the neck.Wiglof who rushes through the flames to help Beowulf stabs the dragon with his sword and Beowulf cuts the dragon in half with his knife.Wounded Beowulf understands that he will die,and tells Wiglof how to bury him.In keeping with Beowulf's instructions,Beowulf is burned in a funeral pyre while his people cry and lament for his death.The story ends as it began--with the funeral of a great warrior.




























































































































































Comments (13)

Anonymous said

at 1:43 am on Nov 15, 2008

Now again Iam looking over the poem,Beowulf and I think this is one of the topics I have learnt thoroughly in this lesson but It is inevitable that saying this 'Beowulf 'is an exaggerated poem so as a Turkish girl I prefer our BATTAL GAZİ to Beowulf:))

Anonymous said

at 12:20 am on Nov 27, 2008

ın the lesson,I understood BEOWULF,BUT NOT enought because I first heart abaut ıt.ıt's a good poem,my friends really wrote good thıngs.Now I have good ıdeas abaut ıt and ın the future I wıll tell my students the poem.THANKS MY FRIEDS for theır research.Wrıtten by HATİCE ERDOĞAN

Anonymous said

at 1:27 pm on Dec 30, 2008

Beowulf is very impressive,and in this poem we understand the priorities of the people who lived in that time.For example in this poem loyalty to the kinsmen is very important.Kinship is very important.

Anonymous said

at 5:22 pm on Dec 31, 2008

ı like that story really so much because it reflects our legends and historical stories.ı can find similarities so much between beawolf and our historical story TEPEGÖZ.and ı think it shows that almost every nation has similar process when they finally get the modern novels

Anonymous said

at 5:51 pm on Dec 31, 2008

that epic poet shows that we turkish and britains have so much thing in common such as our dede korkut stories so ı like old english by means of that kind of epic poetries.finaly it is worth to play in hollywood with again andagain

Anonymous said

at 5:33 pm on Jan 4, 2009

BEOWULF İS a very brave king. I think a king must be like him if he wants to be a good king

Anonymous said

at 11:28 pm on Jan 9, 2009

The epic Beowulf is one of the oldest poems written in English. According to the Norton Anthology, "the poem was composed more the twelve hundred years ago, in the first half of the eight century. Its author may have been a native of what was Mercia, the Midlands of England today, although the late tenth-century manuscript , which alone preserves the poem, originated in the south in the kingdom of the West Saxons" (Norton 21). Although the poem is of English origin, it speaks of tribes (the Danes and the Geats) that are from the "Danish island of Zealand and southern Sweden respectively" (Norton 22

Anonymous said

at 7:46 pm on Jan 12, 2009

Beowulf is one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It has been noted for its lenght at 3182 lines.The poem includes a remarkable fusion of Pagan and Christian elements and provides a vivid picture of Old Germanic life.

Anonymous said

at 12:17 am on Jan 13, 2009

The Anglo-Saxon Bewoulf is the most important work of the English literature.The epic tells about the story of a hero,Scandinavian prince named Bewoulf,who struggles with the monster Grendel,Grendel's mother and Dragon.Throughout the epic,the Anglo-Saxon story teller uses many elements to build a strong unity in the epic.A few of the important elements in Bewoulf are wealth and honor;biblical and paganistic themes.

Anonymous said

at 12:40 am on Jan 13, 2009

The most impressive things that affect me in the story of beowulf are the funerals.Both at the end and at the beginning of the story the funerals make people think about the events.Beowulf also shows us an exampe of adherence.I loved it.

Anonymous said

at 6:02 am on Jan 13, 2009

In Beowulf I noticed that this tale like dede korkut tales in turkish education because of exaggeration and miracles in the tale.

Anonymous said

at 4:17 pm on Jan 13, 2009

Beowulf is the most impressive and importanat work of Anglo-Saxon literature,ı think.beowulf is a real hero and king. he just wanted his society to be safe and he die for his society's safety so ı appreciate him.

Anonymous said

at 9:31 pm on Jan 14, 2009

I'm sure Beowulf was our favourite in this term. It has 3 parts. So nobody can be bored while reading and watching it. Its end made me disappointed. Beowulf killed Grendel and Grendel's mother, however, he died after Dragon. If anybody become interested in Angles', Saxons' and Vikings' period; I suggest to read Beowulf

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