Beowulf - Elements of an Epic
Updated: 5/14/2018
Beowulf - Elements of an Epic
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Beowulf

Lesson Plans by Rebecca Ray

Are you looking to inspire and engage your students during a unit on Epic Narratives and Beowulf? These activities will help your students grasp the plot of Beowulf in no time! Written somewhere around 1000BCE, the epic poem is set in Scandinavia and has been the inspiration for many stories and movies in modern day.


Elements of an Epic

By Rebecca Ray

Epics are stories told on a grand scale, with armies, heroes, gods, and the brutal forces of nature depicted over long character arcs and sweeping landscapes. Protagonists meet with obstacles and disaster, action and triumph. Along with some other patterns and nuances, these elements distinguish epics from other writing styles. In this article, you will learn how to teach students the elements of the epic genre by using fun and easy-to-create storyboards.




Beowulf

Storyboard Description

Elements of an Epic | Beowulf Epic Hero | Beowulf Summary | Grendel | Anglo Saxon

Storyboard Text

  • OMNISCIENT NARRATION
  • It's not?
  • LEGENDARY HERO
  • "I'm Beowulf! I've killed nine sea monsters."
  • SUPER HUMAN STRENGTH / VALOR
  • The narrator uses 3rd person, omniscient narration to tell us the thoughts, feelings, and actions of the characters. He writes as if he is witnessing and experiencing everything that takes place in the story and sometimes even spoiling what's next.
  • ...but little did Beowulf know his fight would not be over....
  • This quote shows Beowulf's notoriety. When he first gets to Denmark, the Danes throw him a great feast. While there, he brags to Hrothgar about all he's accomplished.
  • After bragging, Beowulf also tells a story about a swimming match with his friend, Brecca. During the match, sea monsters attacked, and Beowulf was able to slay the monsters, save his friend, and finish the race.
  • EPIC STYLE OF WRITING
  • The poison-breath of that foul worm first came forth from the cave. Hot reek-of-fight: the rocks resounded. Stout by the stone-way his shield he raised, lord of the Geats, against the loathed-one...
  • ELEMENTS OF AN EPIC - BEOWULF
  • SUPERNATURAL INVOLVEMENT
  • MULTIPLE SETTINGS
  • Traditional "kenning" metaphors replace simple objects, and much of the action is relayed at a breathless pace, interspersed with digressions about lineage and past deeds. Characters and events are described in a truly epic and poetic manner.
  • In this epic tale, our hero encounters monsters, a witch, and a fire-breathing dragon. He uses a sword forged by giants to kill his enemies.
  • Much of the action takes place in or around Hrothgar's hall of Heorot, but Beowulf also goes to the to kill the swamp hag in her underwater lair, and his fight against the dragon is in his home of Geatland.
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