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The Epic Poem. A long, narrative poem that celebrates a hero’s deeds –Came into existence as spoken words and were retold by poet after poet from one.

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Presentation on theme: "The Epic Poem. A long, narrative poem that celebrates a hero’s deeds –Came into existence as spoken words and were retold by poet after poet from one."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Epic Poem

2 A long, narrative poem that celebrates a hero’s deeds –Came into existence as spoken words and were retold by poet after poet from one generation to the next –Many epics based on historical fact –Epics provided both entertainment and education for audience

3 1.Folk –Told out loud first (usually by scops) –Unknown author –Unknown dates –(E.g.—Beowulf is a folk epic because we don’t know who wrote it) 2.Literary –Known author –(E.g.– Paradise Lost, by John Milton is a literary epic because we know who wrote it.) 2 Types of Epics

4  Epic hero– a character with a trait or characteristic that is valued by his society.  Quest– A journey through which the character or the reader learns something.  Divine Intervention– The hand of God (or gods) help the hero, proving his value.  Great events– The hero has a hand in something important in the history or mythology of a culture.  Setting- The setting is vast in scope, often involving more than one nation. Characteristics of Epics

5  The poet uses formal diction and a serious tone.  Major characters often deliver long, formal speeches ..  The plot is complicated by supernatural beings or events and may involve a long and dangerous journey through foreign lands.  The poem reflects values such as courage and honor.  The poem treats universal themes, such as good and evil or life and death. Literary Structure of Epic Poetry

6  Stock epithets – adjectives that point out special traits of particular persons or things (e.g., “swift-footed” used to describe Achilles)  Kennings – poetic synonyms that may be a descriptive phrase or compound word that substitutes for a noun (e.g., in Beowulf, “the Almighty’s enemy” and “sin-stained demon” are used in place of Grendel’s name) Literary Structure of Epic Poetry

7  Alliteration – repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words, used to heighten moods, emphasize words or images, or create musical effects  Caesura – Old English poetry has a strong rhythm, with each line divided in two parts by a pause, called a caesura Literary Structure of Epic Poetry

8 3 Epic Conventions 1.Invoke a muse –Muse– inspiration provided by the gods 2.Plot begins in medias res –In medias red– “In the middle of” the action 3.Serious tone

9  The hero is of noble birth or high position, and often of great historical or legendary importance.  The hero’s character traits reflect important ideals of his society.  The hero performs courageous deeds that reflect the values of the era.  The actions of the hero often determine the fate of a nation of people. Characteristics of Epics

10  Good Fighter  Loyal  Persevering (Never Gives Up)  Wins “Fame” (in Songs in a Mead Hall) Characteristics of Pagan Hero

11  Little Regard for Danger or Self: Brave  Battle as a Way of Life  Personal Vengeance as Familial Requirement  FATE: Revenge and/or Death Characteristics of Pagan Hero

12  Recognizes God as Creator  Humility in the presence of God’s Power  Altruism in Action Characteristics of Christian Hero

13  Contrast between Good and Evil Rulers  Personal Vengeance transmuted into Fighting Evil  Good is Rewarded and Evil is Punished (Evil in the World) Characteristics of Christian Hero

14 The End


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