Week 4 Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chaelin Despres on Saturday September 19, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 221 at Towson University taught by Christopher Cain in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see British Lit in Foreign Language at Towson University.
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Date Created: 09/19/15
British Literature to 1798 Week 4 9 1420159 162015 In Class Paper 1 0 Due 1014 on Blackboard o SOD1000 words 0 Form a nonobvious thesis regarding meaning 0 It is argumentative and analytical I Follow one of the prompts but expand and branch off of it 0 Dr Cain will read fullpartial drafts over email or in person Beowulf 0 Why does Beowulf begin with lineage I Genealogy is very important to culture I Creates a Biblical Model the Bible begins with description of lineage 0 Hrothgar is to build a meadhall Heorot to certify rule I Physical center of the community I Show prosperity of his rule I Hall building is designated for people with wealth and leisure o Meditation on What makes a good king I Central theme of Beowulf I Kings give gifts to people generous gift givers I Part of the Speculum principi Mirror of Princes genre which deals with the differences between good and bad rulers 0 Very popular in medieval literature 0 In following the Speculum principi Beowulf fails at the central duty of being a king because he does not provide a heir to his throne I A legitimate male heir is needed to prevent Civil War 0 Consequently with Beowulf 5 death it is likely that the Geats were overrun by the Swedes o Recurrent themes of gloom and darkness I The fate of Heorot I Compared to moments of heroism fit for a heroic epic o Widsith 9 fragmented pieces of an Old English Poem which mentions the burning of Heorot I Show expanse of the Beowulf tale throughout the AngloSaxon culture 0 Hrothgar s characteristics 9 generous long ruling bragswealth mentality not able to defend his people physicallymentally frail ashamed because of his actions with Grendel o Wergild means manpayment I Legal structure for shortcircuiting of blood feuds I Families would pay one another to stop a blood feud so it doesn t continue indefinitely I GrendelGrendel s mother don t recognize this because they are not human Kings were meant to possess Sopientia et fortitudo wisdom and strength I Hrothgar is not physically strong he is only wise and that is questionable Grendel s origins I Descendent of Cain I Survived Noah s ood from the Book of Enoch Grendel 9 I Nonhuman I Humanoid I Protected by spells shows some level of intelligence I Lives underwater with mother 9 scales Amphibian I Destroys Heorot because of jealously o Insider v outsider o Grendel is not one of them the Danes There is a need for modern readers to contextualize I Especially for motivation I The individual was not a thing 0 Community valued above everything 0 Individuals only make sense in context of a community I Grendel was motivated by externality Loose similarity between Beowulf and Paradise Lost I Grendel as a Satanesque character I He has no motivation he is just evil Beowulf s motivation prideglory I Wants to test his strength against Grendel I Historical alliance between Hrothgar and Ecgtheow line 311 Beowulf possesses some animalistic qualities all positive I He is not semihuman like Grendel I He has superhuman bearlike strength BraggingPraising of Deeds was an expectation I Flyting ritualized bragging Proper burials were sacred and highly important I Beowulf specifics what happens to him in case of death 0 Send belongsarmor back to Hygelac because Beowulf is a servantretainer of Hygelac o Loyalty is the most important thing between a King and his retainers Hrothgar paid off a Wergild for Ecgtheow Beowulfs father I One of the reasons why Beowulf comes to help him 9 to pay off a debt 0 At the feast Unferth is jealous and calls out Beowulf on his swimming competition line 500 I Beowulf dismisses him by saying he is a brotherkiller I Beowulfs actions are distinctly unheroic unseemly 0 There are only 3 women in the live action of the poem I Wealhtheow Hrothgar s Queen is the most prominent In Class Beowulf 0 Line 1158 Hrothgar s wife I Beings by talking to Hrothgar about his plan to adopt Beowulf instead of his nephew Hruthulf 0 Rule is not parental just to the oldest male I Awards Beowulf with gifts from the Danes o Beowulf gives these to Hygelac o Hygelac is slain wearing the necklace from BeowulfWealtheow I She announces the gift giving to the public line 1215 o Ends with a warning to Beowulf to make sure he doesn t overstep his bounds 0 Warning him against trying to invade Denmark 0 One of the few times in Medieval Literature 0 Women taking control and occupying a powerful voice and center stage presence in a poem 0 Separates Beowulf from other medieval literature 0 Related to Scandinavian Viking age treatment of women I Both them and AngloSaxons had elevated treatment of women 0 Vanished in 1066 with invasion from Normans o Digressions are mini stories within the text I Often displayed in alternate text I Include asides to other medieval textslegends I Digression of Modthryth as a Wicked Women is a medieval trope in comparison with the treatment of Wealtheow 0 Fight with Grendel I Grendel shows up at Heorot one Dane gets eaten so that Beowulf can measure Grendel out the fight where Beowulf rips Grendel s arm offmortally wounds him Grendel retreats to his underwater lair to die Beowulf returns to Heorot for celebrations 0 That celebration is where Wealtheow s speech to Beowulf takes place 0 Grendel s mother line 1251 I Retrieves Grendel s arm turned into a trophy I Seeking revenge for her son s death she s duty bound 0 Mother s protectiveness over children 0 Doesn t honor Wergild because she is not human 0 Furthers the insideroutsider dynamic 0 She is not as strong as a man the strongest woman Amazon warrior is not as strong as a man 0 Kills Hrothgar s best friend Aeschere o Beowulf is not in the hall when she attacks 0 Ingwins 9 Danes I Hrothgar winds up in hysterics 0 Not displaying strength his strength is a symbol for the Kingdom 0 Maybe he is too frail mentally to rule as well as physically line 1345 o Begins to tell Beowulf this new information about Grendel that should have been made clear earlier there is more than one where they live etc 0 Doing exactly what he is not supposed to do 0 The description of Grendel s home Line 1408 is very similar to the description of hell in a medieval homily 9 The Blickling Homilies I Language is too similar to not be related I The homilist must have been familiar with Beowulf familiar with the copy of Beowulf that was passed won and survives today 0 Beowulf arrives at a drychamber and gains a sword I He was given Unferth s sword but it breaks down to the hilt I Finds a huge sword treasure Grendel s body and fire in Grendel s lair 0 Weapons have names 9 early medieval Germanic tradition I Unferth s sword is name so it has a narrative o The myth of Giants preceding humanity is a very common AngloSaxon idea I Because of finding the remains of Roman engineeringarchitecture o Explanatory narrative 0 Line 1560 Beowulf receives his new sword I Beowulf settling score for all of Grendel s deaths Mutilating remains 0 Out of tune with proper behavior 0 Caring for the dead is a sacred duty 0 Remains are honored o Disrespect of remains is one of the heaviest penalized crimes 0 Soldiers leave when they see blood coming out of the cave and filling the lake because they believe that Beowulf was killed I Never have enough faith in hero 0 Beowulf gives all of his new treasure to Hygelac I Beowulf at the height of his power he is both wise and strong I Because of KingRetainer relationship I Tells Hygelac that Denmark is in dispute with HeathoBards 0 Hrothgar plans on fixing it by marrying off his daughter I After the marriage history won t dissolve the bad blood 0 Peace won t be fully achieved 0 Critique of marriage alliances o Beowulf King of Geats because Hygelac dies and son is too young so Beowulf agrees to be his mentor until he comes of age I Hygelac s son also dies Beowulf is the 5th in line I Hygelac s brothers 0 One kills one and father dies of grief so the other can t become king out of shame
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