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Epic elements of the epic. English 12 . Epic. Long narrative poem that tells of the adventures of a legendary hero in pursuit of a nationally important goal The hero’s accomplishments reflect the values of his culture

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  • Long narrative poem that tells of the adventures of a legendary hero in pursuit of a nationally important goal
  • The hero’s accomplishments reflect the values of his culture
  • The hero’s accomplishments are usually found in history or mythology of his people
epic hero
Epic Hero
  • Central character of an epic
  • Larger than life with a noble or semi-divine birth (Percy Jackson, Harry Potter)
  • Fights evil and forces that threaten the world’s order (battles the false accusation of Zeus, battles “he who must not be named”
epic hero1
Epic Hero
  • Significant birth
  • Goes on a quest
  • Has superhuman abilities or strength
  • Decent into underworld/darkness
  • Rebirth
  • Upholds the values of his culture-loyalty, bravery, honor
  • Born to a Doctor who inherited the Wayne family fortune
  • Goes on many quests to make Gotham safe (battles Penguin, Joker, Scarecrow…)
  • Superhuman training, bravery, and technology
  • Falls in a well with bats, comes out stronger
  • Self-sacrificing, never kills, protects the citizens even if they don’t like him or support his cause (soldiers)
  • Typical character, action, or situation that represents a universal pattern
  • A pattern to follow
    • The hero
    • The mother figure
    • The journey
    • The fall
  • Long, adventurous journey/mission undertaken by the hero
  • Proves the hero’s heroism
  • Brings the hero honor and fame
    • Beowulf saves a neighboring kingdom by slaying Grendel
valorous deeds
Valorous Deeds
  • Actions to demonstrate the hero’s courage, strength, or virtue
  • Makes up most of the action in the narrative
    • Beowulf battles Grendel bare handed
divine intervention
Divine Intervention
  • Help from a god or supernatural force who finds interest in the hero’s quest
    • Poseidon helps Percy Jackson
great events
Great Events
  • Important events from history of mythology of a nation or culture often provide the theme or backdrop for the epic
    • The Iliad takes place during the Trojan War
essential vs often
Essential vs. Often
  • All epics have
    • Epic hero
    • Quest
    • Valorous deeds
  • Many epic have
    • Divine intervention
    • Great events
folk vs literary
Folk vs. Literary
  • A folk epic is an ancient story about a hero told or sung as entertainment and passed down orally through the generations. These stories were unified into folk epics and written down long after they were first composed.
  • A literary epic is written by an individual in the style and convention of the folk epic.
epic conventions
Epic Conventions
  • Epic open with by stating a subject or purpose then ask a muse to help tell the story
  • The plot begins in medias res “in the middle” of the story
  • Serious in tone and lofty in style
loyalty to king and kin
Loyalty to king and kin
  • Kin means family
  • King is generous providing gifts and protection for the tribe (remember, there is no unity on the island at this time)
  • The king’s men battle for him and only him
  • The pagan custom for the death of a kinsman was to kill the offending member or family member which led to the practice of wergild
  • In an attempt to lessen revenge killings, the wergild is an amount of money that could be paid instead of murder.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Isildur takes the one ring in payment for the death of his father and brother
    • In Beowulf, Grendel refuses to pay a wergild for the men he murders
  • It was expected and honorable to boast (just make sure you can back it up!)