Beowulf Literary Devices

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Mike Carlos Literary devices have a large impact on Beowulf because of the oral tradition. These literary devices create thoughts and help people have more of a thought out idea of what is going on in the poem. The reader’s vision of the story is reflected on how it is said and described Kennings were often used throughout the poem to keep on the old English oral traditions. These kennings helped because the story had to be memorized and told over and over again and it made it easier to remember and to say. Due to the fact that the language of the Angelo-Saxons did not have rhymes, it made it harder to memorize, but these phrases helped people make it easier. “That Sheppard of evil, guardian of crime/Knew at once that nowhere on earth/Had he met a man whose hands were harder.”(pg. 32 lines 432-434)This is a kenning used to describe how horrible Grendel was. These are used to make the imagination run more vividly. Imagery was used to place an idea in someone’s head about what was going on in the poem. It was very important that this was used because there were not written documents of these writings and they had to be passed down orally. Actions had to be emphasized allot for the listener to better comprehend what he was hearing and process it to remember and repeat. “They have seen my strength for themselves,/Have watched me rise from the darkness of war,/Dripping with my enemies blood;”(pg.24 lines 151-153)Beowulfs strength is expressed to its fullest extent, for the reader to know how powerful he really is. These literary devices show how powerful the heroes and enemies in the Angelo-Saxon religion actually are. The literary devices in this epic helped to bring the story to the readers’ head easier, and make it better and for the person telling the story to repeat it. Oral tradition requires assets like kennings and imagery because the story has to be
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