Old English Literature

(My Asignment during My Study)

About in year 700 – year 900 an epic poem Beowulf was composed. The story tells us about a hero named Beowulf who kills a monster Grendel who is attacking the kingdom of Danish King. Then Grendel’s mother takes revenge of her son death. Grendel’s mother who lives under the sea is also killed by Beowulf.
Returning home, Beowulf becomes king. Abot fifty years later the kigdom is attacking by a fire-breathing dragon. The dragon then kill by a young warrior named Wigalf.
When read a play of Shakespeare, a poem by Wordworth, a novel Dickens  or most of literary texts, we usually know something about the writer, the period of time that the work written and also the genre. So that it could help us to get the conclusion of the meaning and the significance of the literary texts. But there are some differences of the Old English literature we know little information about the author and the time it was composed.
Structurally, Beowulf is built around three fights. Each of these involves the fight between they who lives in the royal hall and the monsters. The monsters are described dangerous and unpredictable. This literature shows us the pattern that specifically to the Anglo-Saxon period.
In most of eighteenth-century works there is sense of chaos overtaking society and the collapse of established standards of behavior. In the nineteenth and twentieth century texts, there is a sense of a feeling that the world is moving so fast and changing so much that all steady points of reference have been lost.
As the center of learning, the texts in Old English that survives from Anglo-Saxon England were probably transcribed during tenth century by monks, who establishing and preserving a native literary culture. Government, administration, a legal system and a literary culture: all these things saddest a regulated, well-ordered and peaceful society.
During the sixth century, it is important to note, a process of re-Christianization began, but in 793 a further period of disruption was initiated, with the Viking incursions that led among other things, to the sacking of monasteries.
          Beowulf belongs to a tradition of heroic epic poetry. In epic poetry there are always threats and dangers that have to be controlled, but even more important is the sense of a hero who embodies the qualities that are necessary in a leader in a hierarchical, masculine, warrior society, the text is concerned with the qualities that constitute his greatness, the poem as a whole amounting to what we might regard as a debate about the nature of the society and its value.
          Wherever we turn in Old English poetry we encounter tow impulses: on the one hand there is a sense of harsh and unforgiving world, on the other hand there is a sense of Christian explanation and consolation.
          By contrast, other Old English poems are overtly Christian. The Dream of the Rood is a dream-vision poem in which the poet encounters a speaking Rood and Cross. Old English was spoken and written in various forms for eight centuries, from the fifth to the twelfth century. For literary and administrative purposes it always existed alongside Latin. None the less, by the eighth century it was spoken throughout England, albeit existing in four distinguishable main forms.
          And as we look at the Old English in a longer time scale, we become more and more aware of a curious combination of strength and vulnerability in it as a language. Old English continued to be used in monastic centers through to the twelfth century, but, existing in isolation, a standard literary form of the language could not be sustained (Ridha Hawan).


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