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The Epic Hero. What is a Hero?. epic |ˈ epik | Adjective heroic or grand in scale or character: his epic journey around the world | a tragedy of epic proportions . DERIVATIVES epical ( adjective) epically |-( ə ) lē| adverb

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epic|ˈepik|Adjective

heroic or grand in scale or character: his epic journey around the world | a tragedy of epic proportions.

  • DERIVATIVES

epical (adjective)

epically |-(ə)lē|adverb

ORIGIN late 16th cent. (as an adjective): via Latin from Greekepikos, from epos ‘word, song,’ related to eipein ‘say.’

{Why does the original stem mean word or song? How does that matter?}

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epic |ˈepik|noun

  • a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.
  • a long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time: a Hollywood biblical epic.
the epic hero cycle
The Epic Hero Cycle
  • This pattern appears in stories that originate from numerous cultures throughout history.
  • There are generally nine elements that the epic hero must progress through in his/her journey.
  • Not always obvious or easy to recognize – the elements can take on various forms and/or representations depending on the context of the story being told.
birth background
Birth & Background
  • The main character is a hero, who is often possessed of supernatural abilities or qualities. Often there are unusual circumstances surrounding their birth/childhood, or they are born into either royalty or poverty.
special talent weapon
Special Talent/Weapon
  • Usually the hero has some sort of special talent or ability. It may be the possession of a weapon that only he/she can wield. This will set them apart from others.
call to adventure
Call to Adventure
  • The hero is charged with a quest. Usually they must leave their home and go through a transformation or training during the journey. A mentor to teach them may be present.
road of trials
Road of Trials
  • The hero is tested, often many times, to prove the worthiness of himself and his quest. We may learn of the hero’s flaw; a trait or weakness that may affect him.
help along the way
Help Along the Way
  • The presence of numerous mythical beings, magical or helpful creatures, and/or human helpers and companions.
new location new world
New Location/New World
  • The hero’s quest takes him to a supernatural place, often one that normal characters or people are unable to enter.
greatest challenge
Greatest Challenge
  • The cycle must reach a low point where the hero nearly gives up or appears to be defeated.
ultimate lesson
Ultimate Lesson
  • Hero will go through a trial (could be greatest challenge) that will leave him emotionally or physically scarred. Will learn a huge lesson in the process. Often there is a triumph of good over evil.
the return homecoming
The Return/Homecoming
  • The hero returns home after completing his quest. He may bereunited with family, or claim his rightful throne or elevated status. Often the hero wins the heart of his true love or the affection of his people.