external image beowulfhrothgarGrendel.jpg

Beowulf with Grendel's arm

What is the time period and how does it affect the literary style?

The time period is from 600 A.D. to 700 A.D. Not much is known about the Anglo Saxon culture because the people were illiterate and many didn't write anything down. They shared a common language and similar customs. There were many wars and at the time people were looking for heores. The literary styles of the time made stories very dramatic and descriptive because they couldn’t read. They had storytellers. Storytellers who told them of great heores defeating ugly dragons and people who were evil. Thy would normally associate those ugly dragons and evil people with the enemies they were at the time.

What is the author's purpose in writing the selected piece?

Beowulf is seen as a story that was written to capture the reader’s attention by the idea of honor, good, and the belief in god. It was to inspire the common man to be more that who he or she is. The story was very close to the life of the common man. It was to make men fight for something good. The principles of the story were to entice people to the power of goodness. Beowulf was the perfect hero with a few flaws just like any other man but he does not quit and he believes himself to be a good man.

What literary techniques does the author employ in achieving his or her purpose?

The literary technique used in Beowulf is very descriptive and uses a lot of imagery. From Beowulf fighting Grendel to the battle between Beowulf and Grendel’s Mother, imagery is key to making this story epic. The heroes are portrayed as respectable and intelligent which made the characters chivalric. An example of the descriptive language is when the author talks about Grendel's Lair.
"They live in secret places, windy cliffs, wolf-dens where water pours from the rocks, then runs underground, where mist steams like black clouds, and the groves of trees growing out over their lake are all covered with frozen spray, and wind down snakelike roots that reach as far as the water and help keeps it dark." (Page 49 line 424-431)

Citations for Beowulf