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The Hero’s Journey. The Structure of an Epic Tale. Epic -a long  poetic  composition, usually centered upon  a hero in which a series of great obstacles and majestic achievements occur. Myth - a story that explains an unexplainable event.

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The hero s journey

The Hero’s Journey

The Structure of an Epic Tale


Epic -along poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero in which a series of great obstacles and majestic achievements occur.

Myth-

a story that explains an unexplainable event.


To understand the greeks you must understand their values
To Understand the Greeks, You Must Understand Their Values

GREEK VALUES/ THEMES

1. *cunning over strength

2. *homeland

3. *respect for the gods

4. *spiritual development (“know thyself”)

5. *youth and beauty

6. *rhetorical abilities (admiration for those who speak well)


Traits of the epic hero
Traits of the Epic Hero

1. An epic hero is superhuman. He is braver, stronger, smarter, and cleverer than an ordinary person is.

2. The epic hero is on a quest for something of great value to him or his people.

3. The epic hero fights monsters. The villains that try to keep the hero from his quest are usually uglier, more evil, and more cunning than anyone we know in ordinary life.


4. The epic hero is often of mixed divine and human birth and so possesses human weaknesses.

5. The divine world (the gods) interferes with the human world.

6. The epic hero returns home significantly transformed by his journey.

7. In his journey, the epic hero covers great geographical distances and even visits the underworld, other worlds, and/ or other times.


Setting

The setting of an epic is usually vast in scale.


Modern epics
Modern Epics

  • Modern “epics” take the reader on a hero’s journey while often adapting the storyline and setting.



The call
The Call

  • An invitation to adventure either by a herald or an external event

  • The event is often traumatic

  • Voluntary or involuntary

    • Shrek decides to rescue Princess Fiona

    • Marlin decides to leave home to search for Nemo

    • Odysseus goes to battle in Troy

    • God appears to Moses


Refusal of the call
Refusal of the Call

Often, the hero refuses to answer the call,

or is reluctant to do so.


Supernatural help
Supernatural Help

  • Hero often has spiritual guidance from a wizard, elderly person, dwarf, fairy godmother, etc.


Talisman
Talisman

  • A particular item that holds special power for the hero that helps him navigate the unknown.


The guardian
The Guardian

  • Often there is a character who helps guard the hero. This character helps the hero to understand his life situation or helps him train for battle.


Companions
Companions

  • There are usually friends or other companions who follow the hero on his journey.


The threshold
The Threshold

  • The place that marks the boundary from the known to the unknown

  • Sometimes there is something or someone that blocks the way.

  • The hero defeats, conciliates, or is murdered by the shadow and enters the unknown such as a cave or the belly of a whale.


Road of trials challenges
Road of Trials/Challenges

  • The hero is faced with challenges and battles which test his strength and goodness.

Night or Sea Journey

  • The hero usually travels a great distance, often in the dark or across an ocean.


Entering the belly of the whale
Entering the Belly of the Whale

  • This is the part of the story wherein the hero must face his deepest, darkest fear or most evil enemy.


Journey to hell death and rebirth
Journey to Hell/Death and Rebirth

Hero descends into a hell-like area (land of the dead?). His return is like returning from the dead. Symbolically goes where normal humans can’t and finds truth about self.

The hero may just die symbolically or people may think he’s dead for a while.


Atonement payment for wrongdoing with father
Atonement (Payment for Wrongdoing) with Father

  • Hero either redeems father’s evil deeds, his own mistakes, or gains recognition by his father, creator, god, or parent figure.


Apotheosis
Apotheosis

  • Hero is treated as a god (deified) or is rewarded spiritually at the end of his life


Ultimate boon magic elixir
Ultimate Boon/Magic Elixir

Sometimes the hero steals or receives something that benefits humans, such as fire, an elixir of long life, or a bride.


The return
The Return

  • Because of the new knowledge, the hero may not want to return

  • There is a flight from a pursuer which marks the return back to the known world

  • Once the hero returns, he is a product of 2 worlds with strong powers. He restores and heals society

  • Sometimes the society accepts his gifts while other times they may not be ready.


A few examples of archetypal journeys
A Few Examples of Archetypal Journeys

  • The quest for identity

  • The quest for vengeance

  • The warrior’s journey to save his people

  • The search for love (to rescue the princess/damsel in distress)

  • The journey in search of knowledge

  • The tragic quest: penance or self-denial

  • The fool’s errand

  • The quest to rid the land of danger

  • The grail quest (the quest for human perfection)


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