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CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EPIC Heavily borrowed from Mr. Raber at Marlington High School.

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Presentation on theme: "CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EPIC Heavily borrowed from Mr. Raber at Marlington High School."— Presentation transcript:

1 CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EPIC Heavily borrowed from Mr. Raber at Marlington High School

2 Epic Definition An epic is a long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. -Sometimes called a heroic poem -Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey are all epics

3 Epics often… Concern eternal human problems such as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL Concern eternal human problems such as the conflict between GOOD and EVIL Written or told on a grand scale and often in ceremonial style Written or told on a grand scale and often in ceremonial style

4 Two Types of Epics 1. Folk Epic- oral compositions passed on from storyteller to storyteller and has changed over time. Ex. -Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey 2. Literary Epic- written compositions that are unchanged over time. Ex. -Aeneid and Paradise Lost

5 Beowulf In comparison to the standard of Homeric epics (15,000 lines) … In comparison to the standard of Homeric epics (15,000 lines) … Beowulf is relatively short (3,200 lines) Beowulf is relatively short (3,200 lines) It was probably composed (first written down) between in Old English by a monk in Scandinavia It was probably composed (first written down) between in Old English by a monk in Scandinavia It is thought a monk composed it due to the Christian elements in the epic It is thought a monk composed it due to the Christian elements in the epic

6 Epic Characteristics

7 Epic Characteristic #1 The hero is a great leader who is identified strongly with a particular people or society. The hero is a great leader who is identified strongly with a particular people or society.

8 Epic Characteristic #2 The setting is broad and often includes supernatural realms, especially the land of the dead. The setting is broad and often includes supernatural realms, especially the land of the dead.

9 Epic Characteristic #3 The hero does great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey or quest. The hero does great deeds in battle or undertakes an extraordinary journey or quest.

10 Epic Characteristic #4 Sometimes gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action. Sometimes gods or other supernatural or fantastic beings take part in the action.

11 Epic Characteristic #5 The story is told in heightened language. The story is told in heightened language.

12 EPIC CONVENTIONS

13 - Shared characteristics of epics that bards/scops drew upon to recall the stories they were recounting and that writers of epics drew upon to establish the epic quality of their poems.

14 EPIC CONVENTION #1 There is an INVOCATION or formal plea for aid/help. There is an INVOCATION or formal plea for aid/help. This plea is usually to a deity or some other spiritual power. This plea is usually to a deity or some other spiritual power.

15 EPIC CONVENTION #2 The action begins IN MEDIA RES… The action begins IN MEDIA RES… Literally meaning Literally meaning “in the middle of things” “in the middle of things”

16 EPIC CONVENTION #3 The epic begins in media res and then flashes back to events that took place before the narrator’s current time setting. The epic begins in media res and then flashes back to events that took place before the narrator’s current time setting.

17 EPIC CONVENTION #4 Epic Similes- elaborately extended comparisons relating heroic events to simple, everyday events Epic Similes- elaborately extended comparisons relating heroic events to simple, everyday events

18 EPIC CONVENTION #5 Kennings Stock Epithets or KENNINGS Stock Epithets or KENNINGS Descriptive adjectives or phrases used repeatedly with or in place of a noun or proper name: –Whale road: the sea –Strong-hearted wakeful sleeper: Beowulf

19 HERO CHARACTERISTICS

20 Epic Hero Characteristics #1 The epic hero is a “LARGER THAN LIFE PERSON” who embodies the highest ideals of his culture The epic hero is a “LARGER THAN LIFE PERSON” who embodies the highest ideals of his culture

21 Beowulf as the epic hero In Beowulf, the epic hero Beowulf is considered “larger-than-life” In Beowulf, the epic hero Beowulf is considered “larger-than-life” He embodies LOYALTY, COURAGE, SENSE OF JUSTICE, DIGNITY, PERSISTENCE, and many other traits of the Anglo-Saxon culture He embodies LOYALTY, COURAGE, SENSE OF JUSTICE, DIGNITY, PERSISTENCE, and many other traits of the Anglo-Saxon culture

22 Epic Hero Characteristics #2 The epic hero usually undertakes a The epic hero usually undertakes a QUEST/ JOURNEY to achieve something of great value to themselves or society QUEST/ JOURNEY to achieve something of great value to themselves or society

23 Epic Hero Characteristics #3 Epic heroes “LIVE ON AFTER DEATH”… Epic heroes “LIVE ON AFTER DEATH”… meaning they are forever remembered by those who live after them… meaning they are forever remembered by those who live after them… achieving a type of IMMORTALITY achieving a type of IMMORTALITY

24 Epic Hero Characteristics #4 Not a “Superman” with magical powers Not a “Superman” with magical powers But a “REGULAR” human whose aspirations and accomplishments set him/her apart But a “REGULAR” human whose aspirations and accomplishments set him/her apart

25 Epic Hero Characteristics #5 Overcomes great obstacles/opponents but maintains HUMANITY Overcomes great obstacles/opponents but maintains HUMANITY

26 Epic Hero Characteristics #6 Epic hero experiences typical HUMAN EMOTIONS/ FEELINGS, yet is able to master and control these human traits to a greater degree than a typical person Epic hero experiences typical HUMAN EMOTIONS/ FEELINGS, yet is able to master and control these human traits to a greater degree than a typical person

27 Epic Hero Characteristics #7 It is often necessary for the epic hero to connect/make contact with “LESSER” humans in order to succeed It is often necessary for the epic hero to connect/make contact with “LESSER” humans in order to succeed

28 Epic Hero Characteristics #8 The epic hero is an ARCHETYPAL character. The epic hero is an ARCHETYPAL character.

29 Archetype An archetype is a pattern that appears in literature across cultures and is repeated through the ages. An archetype is a pattern that appears in literature across cultures and is repeated through the ages. An archetype can be a character, a plot, an image, or a setting. An archetype can be a character, a plot, an image, or a setting. In Beowulf, the hero archetype is the dragon slayer. A hero who faces death in order to save a threatened community or person. In Beowulf, the hero archetype is the dragon slayer. A hero who faces death in order to save a threatened community or person.

30 WRAP UP/REVIEW

31 Wrap Up/Review Define the epic Define the epic Long narrative relating the deeds of larger-than-life hero

32 Wrap Up/Review What are two types of epics? What are two types of epics? Folk: spoken Literary: written

33 Wrap Up/Review Do you know the 5 epic conventions? Do you know the 5 epic conventions? −Invocation −In media res −Flash back −Epic simile −Kennings

34 Wrap Up/Review Do you know a kenning when you see one? Do you know a kenning when you see one? –Describes or replaces a name Cheese-Wagon = School Bus

35 Wrap Up/Review What are the characteristics of an epic hero? What are the characteristics of an epic hero? –A larger than life person –Goes on a quest or journey (can involve a battle) –Lives on after death (story, song, poems) –Regular human with great accomplishments –Maintains humanity (expresses emotions) –Has contact with lesser humans –Is an archetype

36 Wrap Up/Review Archetype—what’s that? Archetype—what’s that? Pattern in literature


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