Discribe the features of Anglo-Saxon Poetry in detail.

1 Answer | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

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

Posted on

The poetry of the Anglo-Saxons is defined by the following characteristics:

1. Anglo-Saxon poetry is written in blank verse. The term blank verse means that there is no end rhyme occurring from line to line.

2. Anglo-Saxon poetry typically depicts the problems which arise as the theology of the Church (Christianity) and the theology of the Pagan world are played off of, and against, each other.

3. The use of caesura (a pause in the middle of a line of poetry- like taking a breath) is very common. Given that during this period there was no written common written language, the poetry of the Anglo's was sung by scops. The caesura allowed for the scop to breathe while reciting long and detailed poems and epics. The caesura was typically placed after the second foot in the line of poetry. There were four feet in each line and the breath allowed for a pause to happen in the middle of each line.

4. A commonly used poetic device was alliteration. Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound within a line of poetry. This added to the sing-song effect of the time.

5. Kennings were another poetic device commonly used in Anglo poety. The Kenning is a metaphorical phrase used to compare a figurative description to something less elegant in regards to verbiage. An example of this would be "battle sweat". Battle sweat is a kenning for blood.

6. Like many of the epics during this time, the poetry of the Anglos was meant to be a moral lesson to those listening. A sort of fable, the poems taught lessons on life and righteousness.

We’ve answered 318,947 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question