Journal • Imagine you live 2500 years ago. There are no phones, no TV, and no Internet. Most people do not know how to read or write, and even if they did, paper is too expensive. • How do you think people kept themselves informed (news)? • How do you think people kept themselves entertained?
EPIC Define this word.
What does it mean? • Epics are long narrative poems that tell of the adventures of heroes who in some way embody the values of their civilization. • Epics use elevated language and a serious tone and often include elements of myth, legend, folk tale, and history. ACTUALLY…
Tell me more… • Epics and other tales were told by wandering storytellers and singers called RHAPSODES. • Rhapsodes were the historians, entertainers, and mythmakers of their time. They were responsible for spreading news about recent events or the doings of heroes, gods, and goddesses. This was a serious, professional career! • Stories were sung aloud, often improvised and summarized.
Archetype (n.): An original model on which something is patterned The Epic Hero is what we call an Archetype (n.): An original model on which something is patterned.
The main character is a hero, who often possesses supernatural abilities or qualities. Often, they have an unusual background story, or are special from the beginning.
The hero is tested, often to prove the worthiness of himself and his quest.
The Hero meets numerous mythical beings, magical and helpful animals, and human helpers and companions.
The hero’s travels take him to a supernatural world, often one that normal human beings are barred from entering.
The cycle must reach a low point where the hero nearly gives up his quest or appears defeated.
Finally, there is restitution. Often this takes the form of the hero regaining his rightful place on the throne.
Homer No one knows for sure who Homer was. • Lived in Greece, somewhere around 800-500 years BC. • Later Greeks believed he was a blind minstrel, or singer, from the island of Chios. • One scholar suggests Homer was a woman because home and hearth played such an important role in his stories. • Some scholars think there were two Homers. Some think he was just a legend.
Whoever he was, he was a big deal. • All epic poems in the western world owe something to the basic patterns established in Homer’s epics. • The Iliad is the primary model for an epic of war. • The Odyssey is the model for an epic of the long journey.
EPIC SIMILES • Also known as HOMERIC Similes • Heroic events are compared to everyday events that are easier to understand or imagine. Ex: The geyser forcefully spat out water like a bottle of soda that had a Mentos dropped into it.
Okay, so back to The Iliad • The “prequel” to The Odyssey • Tells the tale of a ten-year war fought outside the walls of Troy. • Why is this war happening, you ask?
Seriously? • The Trojans are fighting an alliance of Greek kings because the world’s most beautiful woman, Helen, abandoned her husband, Menelaus (a Greek king) and ran off with Paris, a prince of Troy.
Long story short… • The Greeks win. • How did they win, you ask?
…and now, what you’ve all been waiting for… The Odyssey
The Odyssey • Follows Odysseus, a Greek King from Ithaca. • Odysseus has a beautiful and faithful wife, Penelope, and a son, Telemachus. • Odysseus left for war right after his son was born. He hasn’t been home in 20 years. • He is a great warrior and leader. • Came up with the Trojan Horse. • Odysseus has one big flaw though…
HUBRIS • Hubris means extreme pride or arrogance.
The Plot Thickens… • Since Odysseus has been gone for so long, rich powerful men are trying to marry Penelope, so they can become King of Ithaca. • Greek tradition says you MUST offer guests food and housing. • Penelope still loves her husband and believes he will return. • Telemachus is losing his inheritance (he wants his dad back too… but still)!
Relationships with Gods In Homer’s stories, a god can be an alter ego—a reflection of a hero’s best or worst qualities. • Odysseus is known for his mental abilities, so he receives aid from Athena, the goddess of wisdom. • Odysseus can also be cruel and violent. Odysseus’s nemesis is Poseidon, the god of the sea, who is known for arrogance and brutishness. • Remember, the gods control EVERYTHING!