Get help from the best in academic writing.

Epic of Beowulf Essay – Prosody of Beowulf

Prosody of Beowulf

The prosody of Beowulf is the art of Old English versification, made to be chanted orally, not read silently. Therefore it uses alliteration and accent to achieve the poetic effect which Modern English poetry achieves through the use of poetic feet, each having the same number of syllables and the same pattern of accent (Wilkie 1271). Theory on the prosody of Beowulf is evolving.

In the manuscript version of the poem, alliteration is employed in almost every line (or two half-lines); in most modern translations of the poem this is not so. In lines 4 and 5 of the poem we find:

Oft Scyld Scefing sceapena preatum

monegum maegpum meodo-setla ofteah

The repetition of the “s” sound in line 4 and of the “m” sound in line 5 illustrate alliteration, and this occurs throughout the poem, providing to the listener an aesthetic sense of rightness or pleasure. In 1958 two language scholars, Lehmann nd Tabusa, produced an alphabetized list of every alliterated word in the poem. One translator, Kevin Crossley-Holland, in his rendition of the poem in Literature of the Western World, actually includes considerable alliteration (Wilkie 1271). The Old English poet would “tie” the two half-lines together by their stressed alliteration (Chickering 4). The first half-line is called the on-verse, which is followed by the off-verse. Each line of poetry ideally contains four principal stresses, two on each side of a strong medial caesura, or pause, and a variable number of less-heavily stressed or unstressed ones. “At least one of the two stressed words in the first half-line, and usually both of them, begin with the same sound as t…

… middle of paper …

…ed by Joseph F. Tuso. New York, W.W.Norton and Co.: 1975.

Kiernan, Kevin S.. “The Legacy of Wiglaf,” In The Beowulf Reader, edited by Peter S. Baker. New York: Garland Publishing, 2000.

Magoun, Frances P. “Oral-Formulaic Character of Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry.” In TheBeowulf Poet, edited by Donald K. Fry. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

Stockwell, Robert. P. and Donka Minkova. “Prosody” In A Beowulf Handbook, edited by Robert Bjork and John D. Niles. Lincoln, Nebraska: Uiversity of Nebraska Press, 1997.

Tharaud, Barry. “Anglo-Saxon Language and Traditions in Beowulf.” In Readings on Beowulf, edited by Stephen P. Thompson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press,1998.

Wilkie, Brian. “Beowulf.” Literature of the Western World, edited by Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984.

Essay on the Metamorphosis in Pride and Prejudice

Metamorphosis in Pride and Prejudice

As the story develops in Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, the reader is witness to a shift in attitude between the principle characters. The chapter in which Elizabeth Bennett’s reactions to Mr. Darcy’s letter are explored provides valuable insights into this metamorphosis.

The first description of Elizabeth’s state upon perusing Fitzwilliam Darcy’s revelatory missive is characteristic of Austen when relating heavy emotion: she doesn’t. “Her feelings as she read were scarcely to be defined,” she tells us (Austen 233). Of course, all this negation of representational skills is purely for dramatic effect, and Miss Austen goes on to provide a full account of every aspect of Elizabeth’s emotional upheaval per her reading of the letter, but not, however, without using the device again in the second paragraph, in treating the subject of the truth about Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth’s feelings are conveyed as having been “…yet more acutely painful and more difficult of definition.” Said difficulty is indeed short lived, as the next sentence reads, “Astonishment, apprehension, and even horror, oppressed her” (Austen 233).

The Wickham segment of the chapter, spanning pages 234, 235, and the better part of 236, is significant not so much in its development of Wickham’s character, as in what it does to Elizabeth. After the aforementioned astonishment et. al., Elizabeth momentarily engages in denial (“This must be false! This cannot be! This is the grossest falsehood!” (Austen 233)) but eventually her intellectual faculties regain their footing and she settles down to a second “mortifying perusal of all that related to Wickham, and command[s] herself …

… middle of paper …

… character about whom we can care, in the midst of a narrative which is not a chore to read.

Works Cited

Auerbach, Nina. “Waiting Together: Pride and Prejudice.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 336-348.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. 1813. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993.

Harding, D. W. “Regulated Hatred: An Aspect in the Work of Jane Austen.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 291-295.

Johnson, Claudia L. “Pride and Prejudice and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 367-376.

Mudrick, Marvin.”Irony as Discovery in Pride and Prejudice.” Pride and Prejudice. By Jane Austen. Ed. Donald Gray. New York: Norton and Co., 1993. pp. 295-303.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.