Effect that Caesuras creates throughtout Beowulf? What effect do the caesuras create throughtout Beowulf.?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The three most common literary elements present in Anglo-Saxon poetry (like Beowulf) are kennings, alliteration, and caesuras.  All of them lend a helping hand to the bard/scope or story-teller.  They are memory devices used in even the most modern poetry--music (rap, especially). 

Caesuras provide a rhythm.  There is...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The three most common literary elements present in Anglo-Saxon poetry (like Beowulf) are kennings, alliteration, and caesuras.  All of them lend a helping hand to the bard/scope or story-teller.  They are memory devices used in even the most modern poetry--music (rap, especially). 

Caesuras provide a rhythm.  There is usually a pause in the middle of the line and an equal number of syllables on either side of the pause.  Telling the story this way helps the story teller vary the meter of the lines in his tale so he can get the audience all wrapped up in what he is saying.  This was important to him since in these days, the Bard was as popular and sought after as Hollywood movie stars are today.

Alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words) provides "music" to the poetry.  Together with assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) you can have a soft sound (She sold seashells at the seashore ) indicating anything from rest, comfort, peace to hard sounds (If I catch you, I will conk you, cried the cuckolded creature) indcating anything from fear to anger.

Kennings (using a phrase repetitively to represent an iem or person).  This memory device is helpful to the story teller since they can use these stock phrases instead of coming up with new words.  It also creates rhythm so the story doesn't get boring.  Modern kennings include "New kicks" for shoes, "wheels" for car and "bling bling" for jewelry.  Kennings from the story include "ring giver" for King, "mighty water witch" for Grendel's mother, and "whaleroad" for the sea.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team