35 terms

Beowulf and Canterbury Tales Literary Terms

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Epic Hero
a character involved in heroic battles. Most undertake quests to achieve something of tremendous value to themselves or their society
Alliteration
repetition of initial consonant sounds (ie: window wiper; mighty man)
Assonance
repetition of vowel sounds in the middle or end of words
Consonance
repetition of consonant sounds in the middle or end of words
Simile
a comparison using like or as
Metaphor
comparison of two unlike things not using like or as
Allusion
a brief indirect reference to a person, place, thing, or idea. In Beowulf, there are several Biblical allusions
Imagery
vivid description using the 5 senses, description that appeals to the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste)
Kenning
Renaming a person or thing by their qualities or actions, a metaphorical description (ie: bone-house = body; whale-road = sea; ring-giver = lord; flashing-light = sword)
Caesura
a break in the middle of a line of Old English poetry
Elegy
a poem which is a funeral song or lament
Christian allusion
a reference to Biblical figures or stories
Pagan allusion
a reference to mythological figures or stories (gods and goddesses, demons or Monsters, heroes)
Allusion
a reference to major literary works or characters
Epic Poem
Long narrative poem presented in an elevated style (poetic language: figures of speech), Supernatural beings (in Christian epic: God; in pagan epic: gods and goddesses), Begins in the middle of the action: in medias res, Begins with an Invocation (generally, to one of the Muses), Covers a vast scope of time and place and focuses on characters of noble birth,Concerns a central conflict that involves a person's or nation's fate, Has a hero figure with extraordinary abilities, Includes a catalogue effect (in Beowulf, the lists of gifts awarded to the hero)
Simile
a comparison between two unlike things using like, as, than, similar to, resembles or seems (Example His fist seems a mighty hammer.)
Foreshadowing
Hints beforehand of what is to come
Verbal Irony
What is meant is the opposite of what is said, sarcasm can be a form of it
Situational Irony
What actually happens is opposite of what is expected or appropriate
Narrative
a poem which tells a story
Narrative Digression
The narrator departs from the central story or plot line to tell a related story that serves as a point of comparison or contrast. In Beowulf, this is a method of showing rather than telling. Careful readers will note how the many digressions in the poem serve to advance theme.
Narrative Intrusion
The narrator interrupts the flow of the story to express a personal opinion or to comment on the action of the story.
First person
The narrator is a character in the work narrating the action as he or she perceives and understands it
Third person omniscient
The narrator is outside the action and all-knowing and can see into the mind of more than one character.
Third person limited
The narrator only has insight into the perspective of one or a few characters. The reader learns only knows exterior action and what that character thinks, feels, explores, or experiences.
Scop
An Old English poet or bard, counterpart of the Old Norse skald.
Tone
The writer's or speaker's attitude toward the subject
Theme
The central idea of a literary work
Extended metaphor
The comparison between two things is continued beyond the first point of comparison. This extends and deepens a description.
Persona
the speaker, voice, or character assumed by the author of a piece of writing
Satire
form of literature in which irony, sarcasm, and ridicule are employed to attack human vice and folly
Frame Narrative
a story within a story
Direct Characterization
the author directly states a character's personality traits
Indirect Characterization
the character is revealed through their personality, appearance, words, actions, and effect on others
Unreliable Narrator
a narrator whose account of events appears to be faulty, misleadingly biased, or otherwise distorted