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The Epic and the Hero’s Journey. * The Odyssey is an epic or long narrative poem. * An epic recounts the adventures of an epic hero, a larger-than- life.

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Presentation on theme: "The Epic and the Hero’s Journey. * The Odyssey is an epic or long narrative poem. * An epic recounts the adventures of an epic hero, a larger-than- life."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Epic and the Hero’s Journey

2 * The Odyssey is an epic or long narrative poem. * An epic recounts the adventures of an epic hero, a larger-than- life figure who undertakes great journeys and performs deeds requiring remarkable strength and cunning.

3 * Often possesses supernatural strengths or abilities * Is charged with a quest * Is tested, often to improve the worthiness of himself and his quest * Restitution. Often this takes the form of the hero regaining his rightful place on the throne. * There is often the presence of 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.


5 An archetype is a pattern in literature that is found in a variety of works from different cultures throughout the ages. An archetype can be a plot, a character, an image or a setting.

6 Heroes Shadows Mentors Heralds Threshold Guardians Shape-shifters Tricksters Allies Woman as Temptress

7 SHADOWS Villains Enemies or perhaps the enemy within. Voldemort from Harry Potter

8 MENTORS The hero’s guide or guiding principles Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

9 THE HERALD * The one who brings the call to adventure * Can be a person or event The tornado is a herald in The Wizard of Oz

10 THRESHOLD GUARDIANS * The forces that stand in the way at the turning points Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter

11 SHAPE-SHIFTERS * Creatures who change their shape The goddess, Athena, can become most any person or animal.

12 TRICKSTERS * Clowns and mischief makers Pippin and Merry from The Lord of the Rings

13 ALLIES * Characters who help the hero through the quest Donkey from Shrek

14 WOMAN AS TEMPTRESS Femme fatale Offers danger to the hero Princess Leia from Star Wars


16 Discovered by Joseph Campbell in his analysis of epic stories. The hero’s journey is a cycle that is followed in hero myths and stories. An example of what the Hero’s Journey would look like in a diagram.

17 The Ordinary World – the hero lives in a world that is normal or uneventful – (ex. Frodo Baggins and the Shire) The Call to Adventure – the hero is charged with a quest – (ex. Dorothy and the red slippers)

18 Refusal of the Quest – the hero decides whether to accept or deny quest – (ex. Simba refuses to return to Pride Rock) Accepting the call The hero makes the decision to accept the call (ex. Luke in Star Wars) Entering the Unknown – the hero enters a world previously unknown to him/her (ex. Frodo outside of the Shire)

19 * Supernatural Aid – could be a being or object (Frodo – Gandalf the Wizard) * Allies/Helpers – the hero is aided by helpers (ex. Dorothy and the lion, tin man and scarecrow)

20 * Tests/Belly of the Whale – the hero is tested (ex. Dorothy – defeating the Wicked Witch) * Reward and the Journey Home – The hero claims reward (ex. Shrek – Fiona) * Master of the Two Worlds/Restoring the World – the hero restores order in his former home (ex. Simba and Pride Rock)

21 * Go Go



24 * Credited with writing the two most famous epics of all time: the Illiad and the Odyssey. * Stories passed down orally during the Homeric Age. * Poetic form & rhyme– easy for story-teller to remember.

25 True identity is unknown Likely a bard or rhapsode A combination of many men? Lived around 850 B.C. Blind: Many people believed romantically that performers were blind. homeros = blind Lived in Greece

26 * Some Believe He Did * The Greek alphabet originated in early 8 th or late 9 th century BC. * Homer could have been one of the first authors to use the Greek alphabet to write down oral epic poetry. * Some Believe He Did Not * Because the Greek alphabet did not originate until early 8 th or late 9 th century BC, it is unlikely Homer would have written down oral epic poetry. * Homer likely had a literate scribe write down his oral epic poetry.


28 * Homer passed his stories on via traveling story-tellers called “rhapsodes”“rhapsodes” * Sometimes stories were turned into plays * Greek theater was performed outside * No actresses, only actors * No scenery * Actors wore masks and high platform shoes– they moved very slowly

29 * Singing or reciting, a poet kept the audience enthralled with epic similes, epithets and allusions. * An epithet is a brief descriptive phrase used to characterize a particular person or thing. Examples: “son of Laertes” and “raider of cities” * Allusion – a reference to a famous person, place, event or literary work.

30 Homer often develops the simile (a comparison between two unlike things) at great length, so that it goes on for several lines. This is known as an epic simile. His rage Held hard in leash, submitted to his mind, While he himself rocked, rolling from side to side, As a cook turns a sausage, big with blood And fat, at a scorching blaze, without a pause, To broil it quick: so he rolled left and right,.. Odysseus is being compared to a sausage roasted over a fire.

31 The Illiad * tells about a 10 year war fought on the plains beyond the walls of Troy, Greece * War fought between the people of Troy and an alliance of early Greek kings

32 The Odyssey * Tells of Odysseus’ 10 year journey back to Ithaca.

33 a. intelligent b. proud c. dedicated d. optimistic e. curious f. leader

34 * Laertes, King of Ithaca and a great fighter in his youth, marries Anticlea. * They purchase a slave woman, Eurycleia * Laertes and Anticlea have a son. * He is named Odysseus by and looked after by Eurycleia

35 * Odysseus becomes the wise and gentle king of Ithaca and marries Penelope, daughter of Spartan King Icarius. * He builds their bedroom and constructs a bed around the base of an olive tree. * Odysseus does not want to join the Trojan War, but he does so just after his son Telemachus is born.

36 * Odysseus and his wife Penelope had one son, Telemachus, who was a toddler when Odysseus was summoned to join the kings * Odysseus really didn’t want to go to war so when the other kings came for him, he pretended to be insane and not recognize his visitors. He continued to plow his fields.

37 * Because Odysseus ignored the other kings, King Menelaus and Agamenon threw Telemachus in front of the plow. * Odysseus revealed his sanity when he turned the plow to avoid running over his son.

38 * As he leaves, Odysseus tells Penelope that if he does not return, she is to remarry when Telemachus comes of age. * He leaves Mentor or Laertes in charge of the palace in Ithaca.

39 * Odysseus originated the idea of the Trojan horse * His army built a large wooden horse and hid Odysseus & members of his army inside. * The Greeks offered it to the Trojans as a sign of their surrender and the Trojans accepted the gift and brought it inside the walls of their city. * In the night, Odysseus and his men crept out, unlocked the gates of the city, and the battle began.

40 * Because Odysseus is gone, his home is over-run with over 100 suitors (men who want to marry his wife). * Penelope, his wife, and Telemachus, his 21- year-old son, do not have the power to eject the suitors from their home * Telemachus, the heir to Odysseus, is constantly in danger. * Due to his young age and lack of power, he cannot seek help from other Greeks; he cannot eject the suitors from his home

41 * Ithaca has no coined money; wealth is measured by livestock, household furnishings, servants, slaves, and treasure. * Slavery is encouraged in Ithaca; having slaves is a symbol of power and wealth * Piracy, war, raids on foreign cities, and the capture of women are all accepted means of increasing wealth * The first thing Odysseus does after leaving Troy is to sack Ismarus, take their goods and steal their women.

42 * (will be revealed in detail in The Odyssey in flash-back) * For 3 years Odysseus is blown around the Mediterranean, experiencing adventures with the Cicones, the Lotus Eaters, the Cylops, Polyphemus; Aeolus, the wind-god, giant cannibals; the witch Circe; the underworld; the Sirens; more monsters; * Eventually he is swept ashore to the island of Calypso where he spends 7 years. (It is at this point where we first meet Odysseus.)

43 * To the ancient Greeks, the gods were real, controlled everything, & interacted with human affairs.

44 * Homer used both Athena and Poseidon as alter-egos for Odysseus: good vs. evil

45 * Poets and poetry were an important part of ancient Greek life for entertainment & instruction. * Gave gifts to guests upon arrival and departure. * Strangers were always welcome.

46 * Hospitality as a serious and important obligation in Greek culture: always be polite to your guests; however, this expectation prevents Telemachus and Penelope from removing the suitors from their home

47 * The danger of hubris: hubris is excessive pride that leads to destruction. Odysseus is often guilty of hubris and Athena must rescue him * The importance of moderation: Giving in to excess or temptation, whether food, drink, or other pleasures, will cause a person harm. The Sirens’ song leads to destruction and the suitors’ desires lead to their destruction.

48 * The expected roles for women and men in Greek society: Men are almost always superior to women, except in Sparta where women have more rights. * The role of fate: Characters receive hints as to their fate; however, some choose to ignore the foreshadowing

49 * The similarities between Greek gods and mortals: The gods have many of the same negative traits as humans and often cause destruction. * Gods may choose to save one person and many others will die as a result. * The gods are given credit for all that is good, they are sometimes blamed for bringing destruction to mortals.

50 * Loyalty: Penelope is expected to wait for Odysseus, gone for more than 20 years. * Telemachus must stand for his father, who he does not even remember, against the suitors. * However, there are characters who do not remain loyal to Odysseus and their fate is not good.

51 * Perseverance: work to survive in any situation * Vengeance: It is acceptable to hurt or kill those who are disloyal. The end of the epic shows what happens to those who defy Odysseus

52 * Appearance vs. Reality: Athena takes on many different characters’ identities and even animals’ when helping Telemachus or Odysseus. * Athena can even change others’ appearances for reasons such as checking on someone’s loyalty or making a good impression on a king.

53 * Spiritual Growth: Telemachus and Odysseus both experience struggles which cause them to mature spiritually by the end of the epic.

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