What part do the frequent anecdotes play in the book Beowulf?    

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

In the story-poem Beowulf there are many diversions from the main narrative. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, as has ben mentioned, many people could not read or write in that time and so relied on the memories of the story-tellers to entertain them  either in great halls or in cottages where people would gather round a fire to keep warm. Just as we have "episodes" of TV shows nowadays, so the people would have heard some of the tales before. Then there would be "repeats" where a popular story would be requested many times! (Usuallly the blood-thirstiest ones where their own warriors were shown in the most heroic light!) Then, real battles would "date" the tales and make them old news, so the stories had to be continually embellished and updated. They got longer and longer as the new highlights/anedotes were incorporated into the old and got so long they came to be called "sagas."

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, the frequent anecdotes are in this book mainly because it was not written as a modern book.  Instead, it was passed down from generation to generation of story tellers before it was ever written down in the form we now have.

In the days when this story was being told, story telling would have been a major source of entertainment.  There was nothing else to do on long winter nights.  So you would not want your story to end quickly.  Because of that, a story teller would put lots of anecdotes into a story to make it last longer.

ballsdeep34's profile pic

ballsdeep34 | Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

i think it was written to confuse a bunch of dumbass seniors in highschool and to give teachers a job

ballsdeep34's profile pic

ballsdeep34 | Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

like ripping a good old boot lace while shaving the broadside of a barn while wearing a tutu with your eyes closed

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