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A long narrative poem on a serious subject; Written in a grand or elevated style with a larger-than-life hero. Epics also tend to have the following characteristics:

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Presentation on theme: "A long narrative poem on a serious subject; Written in a grand or elevated style with a larger-than-life hero. Epics also tend to have the following characteristics:"— Presentation transcript:

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2 A long narrative poem on a serious subject; Written in a grand or elevated style with a larger-than-life hero. Epics also tend to have the following characteristics: An opening in medias res;in medias res An invocation to the Muse; A concern with the fate of a nation or people; The intervention of supernatural figures, who are interested in the outcome of the action (the system of gods, demons, angels) Extended similes, generally called epic similes;similes Long catalogues, whether of ships, characters, or places; Extensive battle scenes;

3 1. Repetition: directions and reports are repeated, later incidents seem to echo earlier incidents; 2. Long, formal speeches such as challenges, inset narratives, flashbacks, and points of debate occur within the midst of the action; characters are commonly revealed in dialogue. 3. The manner of address between characters is circumlocutious and courtly; characters often address one another in patronymics such as "Son of Peleus" (Achilles). 4. The pace is stately, the rhythm ceremonious. Catalogues (lengthy lists, particularly of leaders and their military contingents) create a sense of grandeur. 5. Aristocratic bias: peasants and servants (unless of aristocratic birth) are insignificant.

4 1. The hero is introduced in the midst of turmoil, 2. The hero is not only a warrior and a leader, but also a polished speaker with eloquence and confidence. 3. The hero possesses distinctive weapons of great size and power, often heirlooms or presents from the gods. 4. Whatever virtues his race most prizes, these the epic hero as a cultural exemplar possesses in abundance. 5. Hero's near-invulnerability (Achilles' heel, the spot on Seigfried's back); 6. Fighting without conventional weapons (as in Beowulf's wrestling Grendel); 7. the hero's inglorious youth (again, Beowulf affords an example); 8. transference of the deeds and events associated with one hero to another of similar name

5 formulas. redundancies invocation in medias res A Latin expression meaning in the middle of things. aristeia (ah ri STAY a), which in Greek means the best things, is a cameo or vignetteof a secondary character. catalogues epic simile An epic simile is an extended comparison, which in English uses Exaggerations originally intended to be sung or recited to music The poem often has national interest and bias

6 Epics are typically dactylic hexameter. line comprises six measures (hexameter means six feet or six measures). Each measure consists of a dactyl, one long and two short syllables (or sometimes two long syllables). try beating out the rhythm.

7 Primary or Folk Epic No single author (each is a product of the oral tradition) Written down after centuries of oral transmission e. g., Beowulf and the Iliad Secondary or Literary Epic A single, gifted poet composes a work that imitates a folk epic. Paradise Lost,

8 An Elegy is a sad and thoughtful poem lamenting the death of a person. An example of this type of poem is Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."

9 1. the poem (a)starts with an explanation of why or when it is being written, and (b)ends with a return to the speaker's situation. 2. the poem expresses not merely grief, but a sense of shock and anger because (a) the death was premature, pointless, or otherwise "unnatural" and/or (b) the person who died was so special 3. the speaker indicates how the person died and uses the material of the means of death, e.g., drowning, as a source of imagery in the poem. 4. the speaker sees or recollects other mourners for the last person, in a literal or figurative procession 5. the speaker digresses into a criticism of some fault of society, related to what the lost person did or might have done 6. the speaker meditates on the nature of death, especially in comparison or contrast to the nature of life

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11 douts/epic.PDF douts/epic.PDF 2.htm 2.htm

12 An epic or heroic poem falls into one of two patterns, both established by Homer: may be either war or journey, and the hero may be on a quest or pursuing conquest. Features of legend building evident in epic include the following: 1. the hero's near-invulnerability (Achilles' heel, the spot on Seigfried's back); 2. the hero's fighting without conventional weapons (as in Beowulf's wrestling Grendel); 3. the hero's inglorious youth (again, Beowulf affords an example); 5. transference of the deeds and events associated with one hero to another of similar name 6. historical inclusiveness: the poem presents a whole culture in microcosm although the action is localized, flashbacks and inset narratives widen the epic's geographical and chronological scope to include the whole of that race's world and culture heroes;


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