"Beowulf's dagger, his iron blade, had finished the fire-spitting terror that once protected tower and treasure alike; the gray-bearded lord of the Geats had ended those flying, burning raids...

"Beowulf's dagger, his iron blade, had finished the fire-spitting terror that once protected tower and treasure alike; the gray-bearded lord of the Geats had ended those flying, burning raids forever."

Identify the kennings used in the lines above to refer to the dragon and Beowulf. 

Asked on

1 Answer | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

Posted on

Anglo-Saxon literature is filled with two common literary/poetic devices: kennings and alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound within a line of poetry (used to elevate the language and the musical quality of the text). A kenning is a two or three word metaphorical phrase which elevates the language and makes for a more beautiful image. Both alliteration and kennings were used numerous times throughout Beowulf. 

A kenning used to describe the dragon is "fire-splitting terror." This kenning illustrates the dragon as a beast which bellows fire and is a frightening thing. A kenning used to describe Beowulf is "gray-bearded lord." This kenning illustrates that Beowulf is both a king and old. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 327,848 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question