Beowulf literary devices

Use of appositives or other renamings Often used in a series.

ex. of variation
“There was Shield Sheafson, scourge of many tribes,/ a wrecker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes” (violent drunk)

using a part for a whole or a whole for a part. closely related to

ex. of synecdoche
A ring-whorled prow for ship (32) (literary part of a thing)
wheel= whole car

the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related. fancy synonym.

ex. of metonymy
Crown for king or steel for sword(soliders protected king) (connected to a thing
crown= king

a two word compound that takes the place of a simple noun (it can be used to create variation, and often uses synecdoche and metonymy). NOUN FORM of epithet

ex. of kenning
whale road= sea. ring giver= king

grim, ironic understatement

ex. of litotes
“Cain got no good from commiting that marder..” (lines 109) -banished from the world for killing his brother.

alliterative verse
main verse form of Old English poetry;
Consists of:
– four heavily accented syllables per line
-number of unaccented syllables can very
-caesura(pause) in the middle of the line.

idea that people had established worth according to their rank in society(an eye for an eye)

ex. of wergild
king to retainer relationship. when beowulf hands grendels arm on ceiling and grendels mom puts aescheres head on a stick

mysterious force that determined fates of gods and people according to germanic traditions

ex. of wyrd

outrageous boasting of warriors

protection and generosity
king must give what to retainers

loyalty and power
retainers must give what to king

Chivalry/Heroic Code
rules set for game of war; came from time period’s need to solve tension between warrior culture and spread of Christianity.

constant element that pervaded the Medieval Culture

bard well
versed in pagan tales and traditions who recited the poem.
-orally passed down

christian poet
maybe monk, well-versed in native traditions.

bard well or christian poet
what are the 2 ideas of whose the author of Beowulf?