"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 by reedcapps18

1 Answer | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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 318,960 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question