Click on the links below to access materials for this unit


Traits of a hero Power Point

Part I Study Guide


Poetic Devices

Part II Study Guide

Introduction Reading Materials

Epithet Story Activity

Cloze Reading


Power Point Presentation Instructions

Anticipation Guide

Beowulf Graduate Project

Beowulf: author unknown

Beowulf was without doubt the greatest poem in Old English literature. The poem was written in the heroic style and it seemed to be like an elegy to the hero's feat.Old English language is actually the language of the Anglo-Saxon people. According to history, Angles and Saxons were Germanic tribes, who migrated to the British Isles in 5th and 6th century AD. Old English denoted the period where the language was written and spoken, between the time when the Angles and Saxons had settled in much of England to the time of when William of Normandy had fought the Battle of Hastings, in 1066. Check out this link to learn more about the epic poem and its ties to Norse Mythology.

Anglo-Saxon Runes

The Seafarer and The Wanderer

The author of The Seafarer is unknown. The Anglo-Saxon manuscript, untitled and unique, was inscribed in about 975 AD and survives on four pages of the Exeter Anthology, a codex bequeathed to Exeter Cathedral, England, by Archbishop Leofric, who died in 1072 AD. This Modern English interpretation has been revised and completed from the version published in ARTES International, Stockholm and New York, in 1996. It is much indebted to the generous advice of Jonathan Backhouse, Pamela Church Gibson, Laura and Franklin Reeve.

The Wanderer is an Old English poem from the 10th century, preserved in the Exeter Book. The date of composition is unknown but most certainly predates 1070 AD, as it was probably part of an earlier, oral literary culture.

It is a profoundly mournful poem, to the extent that it is an elegy, in which the author, an aged man, speaks of an attack upon his people that happened in his youth. In this attack, his close friends and kin were all killed, and memories of the slaughter have remained with him all his life. He questions the wisdom of the impetuous decision to engage a possibly superior fighting force: the wise man engages in warfare to preserve civil society, and must not rush into battle but seek out allies when the odds may be against him. This poet finds little glory in bravery for bravery's sake.

He vividly describes his loneliness and yearning for the bright days past, and concludes with an admonition to put faith in God, "in whom all stability dwells". It has been argued that this admonition is a later addition, as it lies at the end of a poem that is otherwise solely secular in its concerns.

The structure of the poem is of four stress-lines of different lengths, divided by a caesura.