Early Literary Influences & Historical Events Epic of Gilgamesh 2500 bc

Download 12.21 Kb.
Size12.21 Kb.


  • Senior English

Early Literary Influences & Historical Events

Epic of Gilgamesh 2500 BC

  • 11 Clay Tablets (story)
    • 12th Tells of his ruling the netherworld
  • Most important epic poem in human history
  • Various adventures of hero-king searching for immortality
  • An account of the flood
  • Characters
    • Gilgamesh (2/3 god & 1/3 human)
    • Enkidu (wild man)

Summary of Gilgamesh

  • Meets Enkidu (BBF)
  • 1st trip to Land of Cedaes to kill Humbaba
  • Later slays the Bull of Heaven
    • Angers gods=suffering
  • Seek Utnapishtim & finds heartache
  • Returns to Uruk and writes his story

Bible 4000 BC- 77 AD

  • Judeo-Christian “God”
  • Contains the Old & New Testaments
  • Missionaries & Crusades
  • Holy Grail
  • Referenced in a lot of literature

Homer 800 BC

  • Did he exist?
  • Creator of the Epic Poems The Iliad and The Odyssey
  • Most likely a minstrel
    • Traveling singer/storyteller
  • Poems were oral for centuries before written down

The Trojan War 1184 BC/ 800 BC (written)

  • Main topic of The Iliad by Homer and latter The Aeneid by Virgil
  • Achaeans vs. Trojans (10 yrs.)
  • Helen of Troy abducted by Paris
  • Achilles obtains from war in 10th yr. kills Hector the Trojan Prince
  • Wooden horse
  • City captured Helen returned to Menelaus

The Odyssey 800 BC

  • Tale of Odysseus
  • 10 yrs. in Trojan War
  • 10 yrs. to get home
  • Presumed dead wife Penelope fighting off suitors
  • Consists of 24 books
  • More about this one later…

Naturalis Historia, 1st Encyclopedia 77 AD

  • Written by Gaius Plinius Cecilius Secundus (a.k.a. Pliny the Elder)
  • 37 Book
    • 1st has preface & tables of contents
    • List of authorities
  • Published 1st 10 himself
  • Very little revision if any

The Adventures of Beowulf 650 AD

  • 1st Epic Poem written in English, Old English
  • Author Unknown
  • Adventure of a great Scandinavian warrior
  • 1 manuscript survived the monastery destruction by Henry VIII (more on this latter)

Historic Background

  • Geats & Danes
  • Accurately reflects the time period (6th century)
  • Angles, Saxons, & Jutes
  • Germanic Code
    • Comitatus- of loyalty
      • Sworn loyalty to king = gifts
    • Feudal System

Historic Background Cont.

  • Women were thought of as holy
    • Belief in fate
  • Biblical references relate to Old Testament
  • Author most likely Christian
  • Scops- composers & storytellers

Geneology of Geats, Danes, and Swedes

Main Characters

  • Beowulf
  • Dragon
  • Grendel & Mother
  • Higlac
  • Hrothgar
  • Shild
  • Unferth
  • Welthow
  • Wiglaf

Time and Place

  • Set in Denmark and Geatland
  • 6th Century
  • Herot- mead
  • hall

What is Epic Poetry?

  • Long narrative poem
  • Written in an elevated style
  • Celebrates the deed of a legendary hero or god

Literary Devices

  • Alliteration-- repetition of of similar sounds especially initial consonant or stressed syllable (eg. “Shild’s strong son” [23, line 19])
  • Metaphor- comparison between two similar things
  • Simile- Comparison using “like or as”

Literary Devices Cont.

  • Epithet- brief phrase characterizes a person place or thing (eg. “the Lord or all Life”, “the Rule of glory,” “the Lord of heaven and earth”)
  • Kenning- two-word metaphorical name for something (eg. “sea-road” for ocean [30, line 239])

Literary Elements

  • Internal Conflict- Struggle that takes place within the mind of a character who is torn between opposing feelings and desires
  • External Conflict- When a character struggles against some outside force… Person, nature, society, or fate.


  • Life is full of conflicts. For each of the types of conflict write a paragraph that gives details about your personal experience.

Vocabulary Into. & Part II

  • Liegemen (intro.)
  • Liegelord (intro.)
  • Anon (intro.)
  • Brook (intro.)
  • Thane (intro.)
  • Fell (intro.)
  • Arms (intro.)
  • Laments (intro.)
  • Pyre (intro.)
  • Dulcet (Ln.36)
  • Winsome (Ln.40)
  • Lavish (Ln. 42)
  • Lusture / luster (Ln.42)
  • Embellish (Ln. 43)
  • Malice (Ln. 49)
  • Vengeance (Ln. 56)
  • Atone (Ln. 58)
  • Meter (Ln. 59)
  • Grapple (Ln. 62)
  • Requital (Ln.62)
  • Origin, define word, part of speech, different forms of word, and write a sentence using it


  • Journal Entry: Make a chart like the one below and fill it in with examples from today’s villians.
  • Villainous
  • Deeds
  • Enemies
  • Powers/
  • Abilities
  • Plots

Part I-II Summary

  • Genology of the ruling Danes
  • Grendel awakes because of the construction of Herot.

Description of Grendel

  • Adjectives, adverbs, and allusions play a vital role in the description of Grendel.
  • Read the excerpt from book II
  • Highlight all the adjectives and adverbs that pertain to the monster.
  • Write a description of the beast in your own words using as many adjectives and adverbs as you can.
  • Illustrate how you see Grendel in your minds eye.

Wocabulary Part III

  • Reposing (Ln.4)
  • Surfeit (Ln. 11)
  • Sallying (Ln. 11.)
  • Repose (Ln. 25)
  • Grievous (Ln. 51)
  • Affliction (56)
  • Earnestly (Ln. 61)
  • Shrines (Ln. 60)
  • Oppression (Ln. 63)
  • Heathen (Ln. 64)
  • Wax (Ln. 72)
  • Origin, define word, part of speech, different forms of word, and write a sentence using it

Part III ?s

  • Read Part III & answer the following:
  • What happens during Grendel’s first visit to Hererot?
  • When does this occur? Describe the scene.
  • How long does Grendel haunt Herot?


  • Journal Entry: Make a chart like the one below and fill it in with examples from today’s heroes.
  • Heroic
  • Deeds
  • Enemies
  • Powers/
  • Abilities
  • Virtues

Part IV-XI Summary

  • In Geatland Beowulf hears of Grendel
  • Sails with 14 men to Danish Shore
  • Wulfgar takes them to Hrothgar

Vocabulary Part XI-XIII

  • XI
  • Implicitly(Ln.8)
  • Defiance (Ln.14)
  • Bereave (Ln. 19)
  • Ravished (Ln. 35)
  • XII
  • Welkin (Ln. 6)
  • Providence (Ln. 25)
  • Weaned (Ln. 70)
  • Resplendent (Ln. 72)
  • XIII
  • Mirth (Ln. 18)
  • Sinews (Ln. 26)
  • Fen (Ln. 28)
  • Marshes (Ln.28)
  • Prowess (Ln. 37)
  • Origin, define word, part of speech, different forms of word, and write a sentence using it

Part XI-XIII ?s

  • Beowulf and his men move into Herot for the night while Hrothgar sleeps peacefully. What is Beowulf’s boast?
  • What do Beowulf’s men think of their chances against Grendel?
  • How does Grendel respond when he comes to Herot? Describe his reaction to seeing the sleeping Geats.
  • What happens when Grendel reaches for Beowulf?
  • Describe the struggles that ensues between Beowulf and Grendel.

Part XII-XIII ?s Cont.

  • What happens when Beowulf’s men attack Grendel? Account for this outcome to their efforts.
  • At the conclusion of the battle between Beowulf and Grendel, what transpires?
  • On the morning following the battle, describe the reactions of Hrothgar’s people.
  • Describe the lake into which Grendel vanished.

Grendel by John Gardner

  • Book written from the perspective of the monster


  • There are always two sides to every story, now that you read an excerpt from Grendel, do you sympathize with the monster? Why or why not? Did the story change your perspective on Beowulf?

Odysseus the Greek Epic Hero

  • A.K.A. Ulysses Roman Name
  • As you read take notes on the key points of the story; you will find them necessary for an essay.


  • Write a 4-5 paragraph essay that compares the two epic heroes that you have read about in class. You can approach the essay from many angles some questions to consider:
  • Which hero do you think is better?
  • How do they fight and win their battles?
  • What is their attitude like?

Download 12.21 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2020
send message

    Main page