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First we need to know what an epic is!

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1 First we need to know what an epic is!
Epic Hero Notes First we need to know what an epic is! Epic: a lengthy narrative poem in elevated language celebrating the adventures and achievements of a legendary or traditional hero (ex. Homer's Odyssey)

2 Epics are originally sung, often with a harp, so they were different each time
Passed down orally through generations until they were eventually written down Reveal about the culture of the time: religion, beliefs, families, homes, what was valued in the community, moral standards, war, etc Often used epics to explain what could not be easily understood (earthquakes, love, thunderstorms, the afterlife, death, etc)

3 Characteristics of Epic Poetry
This doesn’t mean that it rhymes. The lines have beats and are not fluid like a paragraph, but chopped up like a poem. Epic poetry often begins with an “invocation,” which is when the narrator calls on creative help to tell the story. Epic poems often begin “in media res,” which is Latin for “in the middle of the action (story).” This means a good part of the story has already happened and the narrator begins the poem by catching the reader up on what’s happened.

4 The Epic Hero A larger-than-life hero that participates in a journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey, and returns home significantly transformed.

a great leader who reflects the values of a particular society Takes on a quest to achieve something of great value (Hero’s Journey) Very strong and intelligent, but the hero is a regular person. They don’t have any magical powers, and they often struggle with very basic human emotions on their journey. Often interacts with supernatural characters and events throughout the story. This could include gods or goddesses as well as creatures like dragons, monsters, the underworld, etc. Overcome huge obstacles while maintaining their humanity They are forever remembered for their heroism and because of this are able to “live on” after death

6 Examples of Epic Heroes

7 The Hero's Journey

8 How is this different than the plot chart we learned?
It doesn’t exist in every story ever written like the plot chart does It is more specific and has the focus on a particular heroic character X

9 The Hero’s Journey 1.) The Known Normal life for the hero
He is happy (most of the time), at peace, communing with family and friends, doesn’t know life any other way

10 The Known

11 The Hero’s Journey 2.) The Call to Adventure
The hero (often unwillingly) is thrown into an adventure by “The Gatekeeper” The adventure is often a destiny that the hero cannot change (“You’re a wizard, Harry…”) Sometimes is a refusal in the initial call to adventure because the hero doesn’t feel that he is capable to complete the task but a tragedy or other significant event will push the hero into his calling.

12 Gatekeepers

13 The Hero’s Journey 3.) The Threshold
Normal life for the hero is over. He has to take the jump into the adventure. There will come a point where there is no turning back. The hero must cross this obstacle to really begin his adventure Sometimes writers will use literal doors that the character walks though to symbolize the threshold.

14 The Threshold

15 The Hero’s Journey 4.) Challenges and Trials
The hero faces physical and mental challenges Threshold Guardians – often guarding a new place / stage in the hero’s adventure. They must be defeated or outsmarted in order for the hero to continue. Women are often used as temptresses to distract the hero from his task Strengths and weaknesses of our hero are revealed

16 Challenges and Tasks Continued
Friends are provided to aid the hero in his quest (“The Allies”) The hero has to battle “The Shadow”. The Shadow is often a character who has many similarities to the hero, but has taken their journey in a different direction. The hero has a guide ( also called “The Sage”) who will teach him about his inner strength. The Sage will not be with the hero along the entire journey.

17 The Shadow / The Rival

18 The Allies

19 The Sage

20 The Hero’s Journey 5.) The Abyss
Represents the hero’s greatest challenge. It is impossible to return from “The Abyss” unchanged and the hero has to fight in “The Abyss” alone. The Allies can’t help him past a certain point. There is usually a confrontation with “The Shadow” in the Abyss and the physical location is often depicted as very dark and scary. “The Shadow” has to be defeated before the hero can complete his journey


22 The Hero’s Journey 5.) The Decision
A decision is made in “The Abyss” where the hero has to choose between power/wealth/life etc. and the success of the quest. Many times The Shadow tries to influence the decision of the hero. In most cases, the hero makes the right choice and “saves the day”. While many allies, sages or magical circumstances might have influenced his journey, it is what inside the hero all along that allows him to succeed.


24 The Hero’s Journey 7.) The Resolution
The hero returns home and is reunited with his loved ones. Often times the allies leave the hero at this point, feeling confident that the journey is complete. The hero has been changed by his or her adventure and looks at the world in a new way. Due to these changes, he is not always recognizable by family and friends. Sometimes he has to prove his loyalty to his family or his people to be restored to power (We will see this in The Odyssey) He might also have to fix some problems or corruption that have occurred since he has been away.




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