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The Heroic Mythic Cycle. Examining Commonalities. Now that I’ve crossed out those heroes who do not fit our definition, let’s look at what most, if not all of these have in common!. Characteristics of this sort of hero:. Mysterious, magical origins or noble birth

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examining commonalities
Examining Commonalities
  • Now that I’ve crossed out those heroes who do not fit our definition, let’s look at what most, if not all of these have in common!
characteristics of this sort of hero
Characteristics of this sort of hero:
  • Mysterious, magical origins or noble birth
  • Exemplifies/embodies the qualities his people idealize, such as tall and better-looking, strength in (perhaps) both physical and emotional realms, valiant/brave, intelligent, awesome fighter, magnanimous (!), loyal, “heroic glow,” etc.
characteristics of this sort of hero1
Characteristics of this sort of hero:
  • Noble in that they are willing to sacrifice for the greater cause
  • Mad skills: Beowulf’s grip, Odysseus’ wit, Achilles’ abilities on the battlefield, Buffy’s general awesomeness/superpowers…this entire bullet point is about having superpowers, really
characteristics of this sort of hero2
Characteristics of this sort of hero:
  • Vulnerability! They have to have some kind of weakness (hubris? Kryptonite? The I-have-to-do-it-by-myself-Harry-Potter-Syndrome)
  • Undertakes a journey or quest (cue important music…because if you haven’t got this one, you haven’t got a hero!)
  • This quest is dangerous, lonely, & beset with temptations
characteristics of this sort of hero3
Characteristics of this sort of hero:
  • In this quest, what the hero seeks is usually no more than a symbol of what is actually found. So, he may be looking for a Holy Grail, but what he finds (learns along the way!!) is the most important quest
characteristics of this sort of hero4
Characteristics of this sort of hero:
  • The quest has to involve a “descent into darkness,” which may be literal or figurative. It is often a visit to the Underworld/Land of the Dead but…
  • The hero has to return, and after this journey he is never quite the same. This is also HUGE: HE MUST BE CHANGED.
and so when you put it all together
And so, when you put it all together…
  • You get what’s called The Heroic Archetype

Archetype – a character type that occurs frequently in literature, myth, religion, or folklore, and is therefore believed to evoke profound emotions and “the collective unconscious,” or a universal sort of memory.

  • This concept of the archetype was explored by Carl Jung, a psychologist who studied lots of things, but the unconscious mind was a biggie
so why are we learning this
So why are we learning this????
  • Because Gilgamesh is the beginning of it all. He is the first epic hero, and therefore, he begins to set the standard.
  • Everyone, from Beowulf to Achilles to Frodo to Luke Skywalker, borrows from this idea of the Heroic Archeype, and it sets the framework for a heck of a lot of the literature we are reading this year, including the Greeks and Victor Frankenstein and Winston Smith.
homework and what s next
Homework and what’s next:
  • The Code of Hammurabi. This historical document is contemporary with Gilgamesh and the Babylonian world.
  • The assignment:
  • Read and annotate the bracketed section. Be prepared for a short reading check tomorrow.
  • Scan the rules (the code), pick 2 or 3 that speak to you, and write a response.