The Odyssey Epic

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Epic Definition. An Epic is a long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society.-Sometimes called a Heroic Poem-Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey are all epics. Epics often?. Concern eternal human problems such as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL Written or told on a grand scale and often in ceremonial style.

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The Odyssey Epic

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1. The Odyssey Epic / Epic Hero Notes Mrs. Cabeza English I/I Honors

2. Epic Definition An Epic is a long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. -Sometimes called a Heroic Poem -Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey are all epics

3. Epics often… Concern eternal human problems such as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL Written or told on a grand scale and often in ceremonial style

4. Two Types of Epics Folk Epic- oral compositions passed on from storyteller to storyteller and has changed over time. Ex. -Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey Literary Epic- written compositions that are unchanged over time. Ex. -Aeneid and Paradise Lost

5. Epic Characteristics There are 5 main epic characteristics

6. Epic Characteristic #1 The hero is a great leader who is identified strongly with a particular people or society.

7. Epic Characteristic #2 The setting is broad and often includes supernatural realms, especially the land of the dead.

8. Epic Characteristic #3 The hero does great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey or quest.

9. Epic Characteristic #4 Sometimes gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action.

10. Epic Characteristic #5 The story is told in heightened language

11. Five Epic characteristics called… EPIC CONVENTIONS- Shared characteristics that writers of epics draw upon to establish the quality of their poems.

12. EPIC CONVENTION #1 There is an INVOCATION or formal plea for aid/help. This plea is usually to a deity or some other spiritual power.

13. EPIC CONVENTION #2 The action begins IN MEDIA RES… literally meaning “in the middle of things”

14. EPIC CONVENTION #3 The epic begins in media res and then flashes back to events that took place before the narrator’s current time setting

15. EPIC CONVENTIONS #4 Epic Similes (a.k.a. Homeric simile)- elaborately extended comparisons relating heroic events to simple, everyday events using like, as so, and just as.

16. EPIC CONVENTIONS #5 Epithet: a descriptive phrase that presents a particular trait of a person or thing. It can be a quick aid to characterization. Ex: Odysseus is a “raider of cities.” Odysseus is “a man skilled in all ways of contending.”

17. The Epic Hero

18. Epic Hero Characteristics #1 The epic hero is a “LARGER THAN LIFE PERSON” who embodies the highest ideals of his culture

19. Real Example: In The Odyssey, the epic hero Odysseus is considered “larger-than-life” and embodies LOYALTY, VALOR/ COURAGE, SENSE OF JUSTICE, DIGNITY, PERSISTENCE, and many other traits of his culture and time period.

20. Epic Hero Characteristics # 2 The epic hero usually undertakes a QUEST/ JOURNEY to achieve something of great value to themselves or society

21. Epic Hero Characteristics #3 Epic heroes “LIVE ON AFTER DEATH”… meaning they are forever remembered by those who live after them… achieving a type of IMMORTALITY

22. Epic Hero Characteristics #4 Not a “Superman” with magical powers, but a “REGULAR” human whose aspirations and accomplishments set him/her apart

23. Epic Hero Characteristics #5 Overcomes great obstacles/opponents but maintains HUMANITY

24. Epic Hero Characteristics #6 Epic hero experiences typical HUMAN EMOTIONS/ FEELINGS, yet is able to master and control these human traits to a greater degree than a typical person

25. Epic Hero Characteristics #7 It is often necessary for the epic hero to connect/make contact with “LESSER” humans in order to succeed

26. Also… #8 The epic hero is an ARCHETYPAL character.

27. Archetype An archetype is a pattern that appears in literature across cultures and is repeated through the ages. An archetype can be situational, symbolic, and character In The Odyssey, Odysseus is the gallant and intelligent hero archetype.

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