"The Battle of Maldon" and "The Dream of the Rood"
Review of Day One
1. Key concept: comitatus.
2. Christianizing: a mixture of pagan and
Christian elements. Christianity as consolation. Christianity's
3. "Wanderer": central conflict is between
wanting to find a new gold lord and realizing that the A-S heroic ethic does not
fulfill human needs. Adherence to A-S heroic ethic --> wisdom --> a
"The Battle of Maldon"
- Omniscient narrator +
Thanes and fyrd
- Causeway +
- Imaginative literature +
- Outline the poem in three major sections:
- Lines 1-99: Preparation for battle.
- Lines 100-97: Opening of battle, Byrhtnoth's death,
- Lines 198-end: Offa's speech, attempt at revenge,
battle is lost
- What is the poem's setting? See Figure 3.
- What is going on in lines 1-10?
- Who do you think wrote the poem?
- Who are Byrhtnoth's men? What do they represent?
- Lines 25-40: Do the Vikings want to fight? How do we
- Tribute vs. battle:
- Second person singular (line 28):
- First person plural:
- Lines 41-58: Why does Byrhtnoth allow the Vikings to
Buck stops here:
Foil—Aethelred (line 51)
- "We have met they enemy, and they is us" (Pogo).
- Latter sections: Other than English vs. Vikings, what
is the essential conflict in "The Battle of Maldon"? How does Offa's speech
(lines 224-38) relate to this second conflict?
- heroism vs. cowardice
- duty vs. self-preservation
- revenge vs. common sense
Excerpt from Beowulf: Group Work --> large
1. What parallels do you see between "Maldon" and the
section about the slaying of the dragon?
2. What conflicts do you find here in the A-S heroic
ethic? Is there something more than we found in "Maldon"?
3. What do you make of Beowulf's final wish on page
4. Which thanes in "Maldon" and Beowulf best
represent comitatus, and why do you think so?
"The Dream of the
- Riddle: "What am I?"
- Elegiac monologue
- Prosopopoeia = a monologue in which a speaker is an
- Dream vision
- Christ's Passion
- Purgatio, concessio, necessitudo
- Old Adam:New Adam::tree of knowledge:rood tree
- Harrowing of Hell (lines 145-47)
- Sin and Death
- Fill in the following outline:
- Lines 1-30: Introduction by dreamer
- Lines 31-121: Rood speaks
- Lines 121-56:
- How does this poem use Germanic heroism?
- Do you see any parallels between Christ, the Rood, and
Rood:dreamer::dreamer:us ITO telling the story.