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The Epic Poem.

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Presentation on theme: "The Epic Poem."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Epic Poem

2 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 generation to the next Many epics based on historical fact Epics provided both entertainment and education for audience

3 2 Types of Epics 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) Literary Known author (E.g.– Paradise Lost, by John Milton is a literary epic because we know who wrote it.)

4 Characteristics of Epics
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.

5 Literary Structure of Epic Poetry
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.

6 Literary Structure of Epic Poetry
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)

7 Literary Structure of Epic Poetry
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

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

9 Characteristics of Epics
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.

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

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

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

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

14 The End

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