Teacher Guide

Beowulf Lesson Plan

Introduction to Beowulf

Written in old English, Beowulf is the first surviving epic poem of its kind. Modern day scholars have no information about the author of the poem, nor when it was composed, though many believe it to have been written between 650-800. The earliest copy of the text still in existence (The Cotton Vitellius manuscript) was made in the late tenth or early eleventh century, and is part of a larger volume (The Nowell Codex) with other stories of mythical creatures. The author borrowed text, themes, and stories from many other sources. Beowulf has many direct allusions to Christianity, often citing God, but also incorporates many pagan practices and beliefs, such as sea-burials and yielding to...

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