Name: Date: Beowulf is an epic poem. You studied epic poetry in English 9 when you studied The Odyssey. Odysseus is the epic hero



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Beowulf is an epic poem. You studied epic poetry in English 9 when you studied The Odyssey. Odysseus is the epic hero in that Greek epic, and Beowulf is the epic hero in our Anglo-Saxon epic. With this assignment, I want you to explore some of the characteristics of both epic poetry and the epic hero. Use your notes on the movie Beowulf to help you find examples of the following items.
I. Epic Poem—An epic poem is a long narrative poem featuring the fantastic deeds (actions) of a larger-than-life hero whose traits and actions reflect those valued by his culture and whose actions affect the fate of an entire nation. The action covers vast settings (a large area or numerous places), and the language of the poem is formal and elevated.


Trait

Explanation

Example From Your Beowulf Notes

fantastic deeds

What ACTIONS does Beowulf engage in that are unbelievable, incredibly important, life-changing, or life-saving? What aspects of the poem seem supernatural?


1)

2)

3)


larger-than-life hero

How is Beowulf better, stronger, faster, smarter, etc., than a regular person?

1)

2)

3)


traits and actions reflect those valued by his culture

What aspects of Beowulf’s character or personality are traits that the Anglo-Saxons value? When you list the trait, also provide an example of when in the story Beowulf exhibits this trait!

1)

2)

3)


fate of an entire nation

How does Beowulf SAVE a nation? What does he do that keeps them from perishing?

1)

2)


vast settings

Does the action take place in more than one locale?

1)

2)

3)


formal and elevated

Epic poetry would be recited at formal occasions and feasts.

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II. Epic Hero—An epic hero has well-known and has high social position. He is strong, courageous, and clever, but he also has human weaknesses.



Trait

Explanation

Examples From Your Beowulf Notes

well-known

Where in the story do characters show that they KNOW who Beowulf is, that they’ve heard of him before?

1)

2)


high social position

What evidence do we have that Beowulf is an important person in the social hierarchy (prince? king?)? Give one example from EARLY in the story and another example from LATER in the story.

1)

2)


strong, courageous, clever

Provide examples of Beowulf showing EACH of these traits. Please be thorough with your explanation!

1) Strong—

2) Courageous—

3) Clever—


has human weaknesses

Where does Beowulf fall short of supernatural status? When does he make mistakes that any human is bound to make? Be sure to explain thoroughly!

1)

2)



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