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The Epic A Review
Epic An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a legendary or traditional hero. Epic Hero A person with heroic qualities (courage, cunning, compassion, …) whose flaws (pride, prejudice, pessimism, …) bring about his own downfall(s).
The Hero can go on many types of journeys. They could be a quest: for identity for vengeance for love for the holy grail for knowledge to save his people as penance for something he thinks he did wrong (or did do) wrong – a tragic quest It can also be an epic journey which occurs over a long period of time, usually years/decades of a hero’s life, which is what Homer’s The Odyssey is about.
What is Life? ~Life is a rollercoaster? ~Life is a box of chocolates? ~Life is a race?
Life is a Journey. The Journey of a Hero is often a metaphor for life. All the trials that the Hero endures are common to what most people endure in life: −leaving home −facing fears −losing a loved one −having people/things get in the way of our goals −overcoming bad times/events in life −et cetera
How has your own life been a journey so far?
Archetypes patterns that commonly appear in stories no matter what culture they come from. Archetypes can be applied to: −the plot of a story −the characters of a story −the symbols of a story
Character Archetypes patterns depicted in characters of stories
Character Archetypes The Hero: protagonist whose life is depicted through a series of well-defined adventures. Usually he has an unusual birth, has to leave his kingdom to go on some sort of journey, and returns to his home a changed person. He is very brave, strong, has honor, and risks his life for the good of all. Young man from the Provinces: The Hero returns home to find that he is a stranger who can see new problems and new solutions. Mentor: The mentor is an older, wiser teacher to the Hero. He is sometimes viewed as a father figure. He gives the Hero gifts, food, magic, information, help, etc. −Mentor-pupil relationship: The Mentor teaches the pupil skills in order to survive his journey.
Character Archetypes Hunting Group of Companions: Loyal companions to the Hero who are willing to face hardships with him on his journey. The Shadow: A worthy opponent with whom the Hero must fight in the end. The Shadow must be destroyed. The Creature of Nightmare: A monster (literally or figuratively) that threatens the life of the Hero and his companions. Damsel in Distress: A woman who needs to be rescued by the Hero. She is often used to trap the Hero. The Temptress: A woman whose beauty attracts the Hero and brings about his downfall.
Situational Archetypes patterns in plots of stories
Situational Archetypes The Journey: The journey sends the Hero in search of some truth that will help him save his kingdom. Stages of a Hero’s journey: −Stage1: The Ordinary World: The hero, uneasy, uncomfortable or unaware, is introduced sympathetically so the audience can identify with the situation or dilemma. The hero is shown against a background of environment, heredity, and personal history. Some kind of polarity in the hero’s life is pulling in different directions and causing stress. −Stage 2: Call to Adventure: Something shakes up the situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within, so the hero must face the beginnings of change. −Stage 3: Refusal of the Call: The hero feels the fear of the unknown and tries to turn away from the adventure, however briefly. Alternately, another character may express the uncertainly and danger ahead. −Stage 4: Meeting with the Mentor The hero comes across a seasoned traveler of the worlds who gives him or her training, equipment, or advice that will help on the journey. Or the hero reaches within to a source of courage and wisdom. −Stage 5: Crossing the Threshold The hero commits to leaving the Ordinary World and entering a new region or condition with unfamiliar rules and values. −Stage 6: Tests, Allies, and Enemies The hero is tested and sorts out allegiances in the Special World
Situational Archetypes Continued -- Stage 7: Approach The hero and newfound allies prepare for the major challenge in the Special World -- Stage 8: The Ordeal Near the middle of the story, the hero enters a central space in the Special World and confronts death or faces his or her greatest fear. Out of the moment of death comes a new life. -- Stage 9: The Reward The hero takes possession of the treasure won by facing death. There may be celebration, but there is also danger of losing the treasure again. -- Stage 10: The Road Back About three-fourths of the way through the story, the hero is driven to complete the adventure, leaving the Special World to be sure the treasure is brought home. Often a chase scene signals the urgency and danger of the mission. -- Stage 11: The Resurrection At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home. He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level. By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved. -- Stage 12: Return with the Elixer The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure to transform the world.
Situational Archetypes The Task: The nearly super human feats the Hero must perform in order to help himself or his kingdom. The Fall: The descent from a higher to lower state of being, usually as a punishment for transgression. Death and Rebirth: The most common situational archetype. Basically the Hero dies somehow (figuratively or literally) and is reborn. Battle between Good and Evil: When the Hero, usually a symbol of goodness, battles an evil character. Usually, good triumphs over evil showing man’s eternal optimism.
Symbolic Archetypes patterns in the symbols in stories
Symbolic Archetypes Wisdom vs. Stupidity: Some characters have wisdom instinctively while others, who are usually in charge and make tons of mistakes, do not. These people often accompany the Hero on his journey to give him advice. Supernatural Intervention: When a spiritual being intervenes on behalf of the Hero. The Underworld: A place of death where the Hero faces his fear of death or a great challenge during his journey. Haven vs. Wilderness: A haven is a place of safety which is typically contrasted to the wilderness, a place of danger. The Hero is often sheltered from the wilderness during his journey.
Symbolic Archetypes The Crossroads: A place or time of decision when a realization is made and a change occurs in the Hero The Whirlpool: Symbolizes the destructive power of nature Fog: Symbolizes uncertainty Colors: −Red: blood, sacrifice, passion −Green: growth, hope, fertility −Blue: highly positive, security, tranquility, spiritual purity −Black: darkness, chaos, mystery, death, evil −White: light, purity, innocence, timelessness −Yellow: wisdom, enlightenment − Purple: royalty
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