how long ago was beowulf written

how long ago was beowulf written

Published byAdelia Daniel Modified over 2 years ago

Presentation on theme: "BEOWULF."— Presentation transcript:


Beowulf is perhaps the finest example of Anglo-Saxon EPIC POETRY EPIC POEM: Long, narrative poem THEMES: Heroic deeds, religious themes, outstanding individuals

3 BEOWULF HOW DID IT COME TO US? Only one manuscript copy survives!

Cotton Vitellius Manuscript

DATES WHEN WAS BEOWULF COMPOSED? Nobody knows for certain, but many believe it was first composed in the early 8th century. WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN? In the 10th century, by a Christian monk, after a period of oral transmission.

5 Beowulf narrates events which take place in the 6th century AD

SETTING TIME Beowulf narrates events which take place in the 6th century AD

6 BEOWULF PLACE Realistic geographical setting

Accurate description of Danish society, uses and artifacts LEGEND and HISTORY are mingled!


The poem was written in the Wessex dialect WHY. Strong cultural ties between Anglo-Saxon England and Scandinavia Overlapping cultural traditions


9 BEOWULF PLOT - I Beowulf is a noble warrior from Geatland, Southern Sweden, and a loyal servant of his king Hygelac. He receives the news of the misfortunes of the Danes, attacked by an evil monster called Grendel. He then decides to help Hrothgar, King of the Danes, and free Heorot, his mead-hall, from the threat of the monster. He confronts Grendel and mortally wounds him in an unarmed fight. Later, Grendel’s mother kills one of Hrothgar’s best fighters to avenge her son’s death. Beowulf then tracks her down to her hiding place, a cave beneath a magical lake, and kills her with an enchanted sword.

10 BEOWULF PLOT - II The second part of the poem is set fifty years after the events in Denmark. A now aged Beowulf has become the King of the Geats and has to face a final challenge – a deadly fight with a fire-breathing dragon. Initially, the dragon has the upper hand in the fight, but Beowulf is aided by his faithful kinsman Wyglaf, who wounds the dragon and lets the dying King kill the monster. The poem ends with Beowulf’s funeral and a lament for his death.





15 BEOWULF THE MEAD-HALL So [Hrothgar’s] mind turned

To hall-building: he handed down orders For men to work on a great mead-hall Meant to be a wonder of the world forever.

16 BEOWULF THE MEAD-HALL And soon it stood there,

Finished and ready, in full view, The hall of halls. Heorot was the name He had settled on it […]

17 BEOWULF GRENDEL So times were pleasant for the people there

Until finally one, a fiend out of Hell, Began to work his evil in the world. Grendel was the name of this grim demon Haunting the marches, marauding round the heath And the desolate fens […]

The God-cursed brute was creating havoc: Greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men From their resting places and rushed to his lair, Flushed up and inflamed from the raid, Blundering back with the butchered corpses.


How long ago was beowulf written

b. Enemies of Geatland from Norway

c. Hrothgar's warriors

d. Swamp monsters

Answer: Hrothgar’s warriors

6. The first night that Grendel attacked the mead-hall, Heorot, how many Scyldings did he kill?

7. How did Hrothgar know of Beowulf?

b. Hrothgar had done a favor for Beowulf's father

Hrothgar was Beowulf's uncle

c. A scop had written a poem about Beowulf that made him famous

Answer: Hrothgar had done a favor for Beowulf's father

8. What jealous character taunts Beowulf during the festivities in Heorot?

b. A hneftafl game

c. A swimming race

d. A wrestling match

Answer: a swimming race

b. He chops off Grendel's head with his sword.

c. He runs his sword through Grendel's heart.

d. He tears off Grendel's arm at the shoulder with his bare hands.

Answer: He tears off Grendel's arm at the shoulder with his bare hands.

d. She is never named

Answer: She is never named

12. Grendel's mother abducted and decapitated Aeschere. Who was Aeschere?

b. Hrothgar's most trusted advisor

c. Hrothgar's nephew

d. Unferth's brother

Answer: Hrothgar's most trusted advisor

13. Who lends Beowulf a sword to fight Grendel's mother?

c. Hrothgar's son

14. What does Hrothgar's wife, Wealhtheow, give Beowulf?

Answer: A torque (=een koppel)

15. How does Beowulf become King of the Geats?

b. He takes the throne when Hygelac dies, having been named his heir

c. He takes the throne when Hygelac's son dies

d. He's never King of the Geats

16. Why did the dragon threaten Geatland?

b. A bejeweled cup was stolen from its hoard

c. Beowulf ceased paying its annual tribute

d. Its food supply was cut off when all the local virgins moved away

Answer: A bejeweled cup was stolen from its hoard(=schat)

17. What was the name of the sword Beowulf used to fight the dragon?

18. Who was the only one of Beowulf's retainers that didn't run away when he fought the dragon?

19. Beowulf's body was burned on a funeral pyre. What happened to his ashes?

b. They were buried in a barrow on the headland of the coast

c. They were placed in the family crypt

d. They were scattered in the lake where he'd faced Grendel's mother

20. The Beowulf poem is believed to have been composed sometime in the seventh century, but it wasn't written down until when?

b. About 920 or 930

c. About the year 1000

d. Sometime between 1166 and 1179

Answer: About the year 1000

21. How many copies of the Beowulf manuscript survive from the 11th century?

c. Seven, including two fragments

d. There is no surviving original; we only have later copies

c. Three or more

d. There's no way to tell

23. What happened to the manuscript in 1731?

b. It was purchased by the Vatican

c. It was stolen

d. It was taken to America

24. The first transcription of the Beowulf poem was made by Icelandic scholar Grimur Jonsson Thorkelin in 1818. At this time, Thorkelin translated the poem from Old English into what language?

25. Where is the Beowulf manuscript today?

Изучение английского языка с нуля. Книги на английском языке для разных уровней

Beowulf (in English, for beginners)

Адаптированная для уровня beginner / для начинающих англосаксонская эпическая поэма Beowulf (Беовульф) – первое произведение английской литературы, дошедшее до нас в письменном виде. Поэмы была создана в конце VII — начале VIII века и написана на древнеанглийском языке. Действие поэмы происходит в Скандинавии. Это сказание о подвигах Беовульфа, одержавшего победу над чудовищами. Данный текст адаптирован Ю. Голицынским и взят из книги «Readings in English Classics» (данная книга более не издается и является букинистической).

Beowulf. Беовульф (первое произведение английской литературы)

As you know, in very old times people had no books. They could not. read or write. In their free time they gathered together to tell stories and sing songs. At that time there were men who walked about the country, and stopped now at one place, now at another. 3 They sang long songs about great heroes and great events. These men were called «bards». People loved to listen to their songs and stories.

Later, when some of the people learned to read and write, they wrote down many of these songs. One of them-was The Song of Beowulf, which tells about a brave and strong hero who fought for the good of the people.

A long, long time ago the king of Denmark was Hrothgar. He was brave, just and kind his people loved him. He built a large and beautiful palace for himself and his warriors. Men came from all parts of the country to look at the fine palace. Every evening many people gathered in the palace, and they ate and drank, told stories and sang songs, danced and laughed.

Not far from the palace there was a large lake. A great monster lived in that lake. His name was Grendel. Grendel heard the singing and laughing in Hrothgar’s palace every evening and did not like it. He was lonely in his lake and he was very angry with the warriors because they were making merry. He got more and more angry every day.

Late one night Grendel got out of his lake and went to Hrothgar’s palace. He soon came near it. It was still and dark inside, and Grendel went in. There were many warriors in the palace, but they were all asleep. Grendel killed one of the warriors and drank his blood. Then he killed another warrior and drank his blood, too. That night the monster killed thirty warriors and drank their blood. Then he took the bodies of the dead men and went back to his lake.

The next night Grendel came to the palace again. Again he killed thirty warriors, drank their blood and carried their dead bodies into the lake.

Night after night, month after month; winter after winter the terrible monster came to the palace and killed men. There was no laughing and singing now. The bravest and strongest warriors could do nothing against him. Their spears, arrows and swords could not kill Grendel. This went on for twelve years.

On the other side of the sea was the country of the Geats. There was a young man among the Geats whose name was Beowulf. He was very brave and strong. He was the strongest man in the whole country. He was stronger than thirty men. One day he heard about the terrible monster Grendel, who killed thirty warriors every night in Denmark. Beowulf wanted to help King Hrothgar. He found fourteen strong, brave warriors among his friends, got on a ship with them and sailed off across the sea. They sailed the whole night, and in the morning they came to Denmark.

When they got off the ship, they saw a man on a horse. He was one of King Hrothgar’s warriors. «Who are you and what are you doing here?» he asked them.

«We are warriors from the country of the Geats,» answered Beo­wulf. «We know about Grendel. We want to help you to fight the monster.»

The warrior took Beowulf and his friends to Hrothgar’s palace. King Hrothgar smiled when he saw the Geats.

«I am glad to see you and your friends, brave Beowulf,» he said, «but I must tell you that your task will not be easy. You must know that many warriors spent a night in the palace. They tried to kill the monster, but they are all dead now.»

«I am not afraid,» said Beowulf, «I shall stay in the palace for the night and meet Grendel. And I shall fight without sword or spear or arrows, because they won’t help against him.»

Night came. Everybody left the palace. Only Beowulf and his friends stayed in the palace. Beowulf told his fourteen friends to lie down and sleep. He himself waited for Grendel in the dark.

Grendel appeared in the middle of the night. He quickly entered the palace, killed one of the sleeping warriors and began to drink his blood, as he always did. But at that moment he saw Beowulf, and a terrible fight began. They fought for a long time. Grendel was very strong, but Beowulf was stronger. He tore off its arm. When Grendel received a fatal wound and howled. He ran out of the palace back to his lake and died there.

In the morning King Hrothgar and his men came to the palace. They looked with great surprise at Grendel’s arm, which was hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the palace. Then they went to the lake. The water of the lake was red with Grendel’s blood.

People from all parts of the country came to look at Beowulf and thank him. Everybody was very glad. Till late at night they talked, sang and laughed in the palace as before.

At night everybody went to sleep. But the troubles of Hrothgar and his men were not over. An ugly witch came out of the lake and quickly ran to the palace. She was Grendel’s mother. She ran into the palace, caught one of the warriors, killed him and carried him to the lake.

«I ask you to help me once more, brave Beowulf,» said Hrothgar.

«I shall gladly help you, King Hrothgar,» answered Beowulf. «Let us go to the lake at once. I shall kill this witch.»

They got on their horses and rode to the lake. When they reached it, they saw that the lake was not quiet and its water was black. They waited. It became cold and dark. The witch did not appear. The warriors did not know what to do. Then Beowulf got off his horse and jumped into the lake.

When his feet touched the bottom, the witch sprang on him and tried to kill him but she could not. Then Beowulf saw the witch’s cave and ran into it. And here he was very surprised. There was no water in the cave. In the middle of the floor there was a bright fire. In the light of the fire he saw the dead body of Grendel in a corner of the cave and a sword on the wall. He quickly took the sword and killed the witch with it. Then Beowulf took the magic sword and came out of the lake. His friends were happy to see him alive.

In the palace Beowulf told King Hrothgar and his warriors about his fight with the witch. King Hrothgar thanked Beowulf many times and gave him and his men a lot of presents. When Beowulf and his friends were going home, many people came to say good-bye to him and to thank him again and again.

  1. Why was Grendel angry with the warriors?
  2. Find sentences in the text to show how strong Beowulf was.
  3. How did Beowulf kill Grendel?
  4. Describe in detail the fight of Beowulf and the witch.
  5. Why did people write The Song of Beowulf, in your opinion?
  6. What heroes of Russian literature can you compare Beo­wulf with? Why?

ThisВ exercise will show you how English was written and spoken a thousand years ago.В At first the words may seem completely unfamiliar. But, look closely, and you'll findВ plenty of links to theВ modern EnglishВ of today.

This passage is from the epic tale of Beowulf, a tale told around winter fires on long evenings in Britain in the Dark Ages. The manuscript shown here is 1000 years old; blackened edges to the pages are the result of a fire in the Cotton Library in 1731. But the story of Beowulf isВ 2 or perhapsВ 3 centuries older.

BeowulfВ is set in Denmark. The Danish king Hrothgar, deeply troubled, sent for Beowulf - hero and nephew of the King of the Geats - to save his people from the vicious attacks of a monster named Grendel. Over many years, the monster had stalked across the moors and raided the King's hall (Heorot) by night, killing his men. Beowulf fought with Grendel, tearing off one of its arms. The monster escaped, but was mortally wounded. Everyone celebrated. No-one knew that Grendel had a mother, who came the following night to avenge the death of her son.

In this passage, the Danish king speaks to Beowulf, telling him of the terrible place where Grendel's mother lived. He describes the desolate landscape: the wolf-haunted slopes, perilous paths through the marshes, a mountain stream that plunges into the earth, and a lake overhung with trees bound in eternal frost, whose waters burn at night with a dreadful fire. A stag chased by hounds allows itself to be torn apart rather than plunge into those waters. It is a dark, misty and fearful place. Hrothgar offers rich rewards of twisted gold if Beowulf can find and kill the monster and escape with his life.

Click on the audio link to hear an actor reading the passage. Remember that Гѕ and Г° are both 'th' sounds (voiced and unvoiced, as in 'think' and 'this'). Do not worry about understanding the Old English words in any detail. But, using your knowledge of the context set above, see if you can pick out any familiar words.

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