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Read and annotate this article. Then go find someone who does not have the same article. Come together
and make a set of notes on notebook paper about the characteristics an Epic and Epic Heros

Questions to Highlight the answer Summarize the


Study information/ Write
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The Epic
The epic is generally defined: A long narrative poem on a
great and serious subject, related in an elevated style, and
centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions
depends the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race. The
traditional epics were shaped by a literary artist from historical
and legendary materials which had developed in the oral
traditions of his nation during a period of expansion and
warfare (Beowulf, The Odyssey, The Iliad) .

Epic Conventions, or characteristics common to both types


include:
1. The hero is a figure of great national or even cosmic
importance, usually the ideal man of his culture. He often
has superhuman or divine traits. He has an imposing
physical stature and is greater in all ways than the common
man.
2. The setting is vast in scope. It covers great geographical
distances, perhaps even visiting the underworld, other
worlds, other times.
3. The action consists of deeds of valor or superhuman courage
(especially in battle).
4. Supernatural forces interest themselves in the action and
intervene at times. The intervention of the gods is called
"machinery."
5. The style of writing is elevated, even ceremonial.
6. Additional conventions: certainly all are not always present)
a. Opens by stating the theme of the epic.
b. Writer invokes a Muse, one of the nine daughters of
Zeus. The poet prays to the muses to provide him with
divine inspiration to tell the story of a great hero.
c. Narrative opens in media res. This means "in the middle
of things," usually with the hero at his lowest point.
Earlier portions of the story appear later as flashbacks.
d. Catalogs and genealogies are given. These long lists of
objects, places, and people place the finite action of the
epic within a broader, universal context. Oftentimes, the
poet is also paying homage to the ancestors of audience
members.
e. Main characters give extended formal speeches.
f. Use of the epic simile. A standard simile is a comparison
using "like" or "as." An epic or Homeric simile is a more
involved, ornate comparison, extended in great detail.
g. Heavy use of repetition and stock phrases. The poet
repeats passages that consist of several lines in various
sections of the epic and uses homeric epithets, short,
recurrent phrases used to describe people, places, or
things. Both made the poem easier to memorize.
Aristotle described six characteristics: "fable, action,
characters, sentiments, diction, and meter." Since then, critics
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have used these criteria to describe two kinds of epics:


Serious Epic
fable and action are grave and
solemn
characters are the highest
sentiments and diction preserve
the sublime
verse
Comic Epic
fable and action are light and
ridiculous
characters are inferior
sentiments and diction preserve
the ludicrous
verse
When the first novelists began writing what were later called
novels, they thought they were writing "prose epics." Daniel
Defoe, Henry Fielding, and Samuel Ruichardson attempted the
comic form. Yet what they wrote were true novels, not epics,
and there are differences.
The Epic
oral and poetic language
public and remarkable deeds
historical or legendary hero
collective enterprise
generalized setting in time and
place
rigid traditional structure according
to previous patterns
Comic Epic
written and referential language
private, daily experiencer
humanized "ordinary" characters
individual enterprise
particularized setting in time and
place
structure determined by actions of
character within a moral pattern
An extended narrative poem, usually simple in construction,
but grand in scope, exalted in style, and heroic in theme, often
giving expression to the ideals of a nation or race.
Sidelight: Homer, the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, is
sometimes referred to as the "Father of Epic Poetry." Based on
the conventions he established, classical epics began with an
argument and an invocation to a guiding spirit, then started
the narrative in medias res. In modern use, the term, "epic,"
is generally applied to all lengthy works on matters of great
importance.
Summarize all the information here:
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Read and annotate this article. Then go find someone who does not have the same article. Come together
and make a set of notes on notebook paper about the characteristics an Epic and Epic Heros

Questions to Highlight the answer Summarize the


Study information/ Write a
bumper sticker

Characteristics of Epic Heroes


Most epic heroes possess most or all of 7 general characteristics
you can use to help you decide if a character is, indeed, an epic
hero or heroine.
Trait 1: A Noble Birth Most epic heroes will have an above
average station in life. They will be kings, princes, or nobles of
some sort. Commoners usually do not become epic heroes.

Trait 2: Capable of deeds of great strength and courage


Basically, this means the hero has the potential for great deeds.
The magnitude of these actions are well above and beyond what
the commoner does. While most epic heroes are good, not all
are.

Trait 3: Great Warrior Before the hero of an epic does his


business in the epic, he has usually established himself in
combat during a war. Sometimes, as in The Iliad, we see the
hero at war. In most, like Beowulf and The Odyssey, the hero
has spent much time in battle.

Trait 4: Travels Over a Vast Setting Simply put, you cannot be


an epic hero if you stay in your village your whole life. The more
countries or areas traveled to, the better. The farther away from
your own country, the better. Distance makes the heros actions
greater because they arent selfish; they are for another country
or people.

Trait 5: National Heroism Before a hero can be celebrated by


countries the world over, he must first be recognized in his home
country as a great and heroic person.

Trait 6: Humility Even as the rest of the world recognizes the


great deeds of the hero, he is never a braggart or even willing to
take applause. He commits his deeds because he knows they
need doing, and the fame and rewards that he receives are only
a matter of course, not the reason for completing his quests. Trait

7: Faces Supernatural Foes and/or Receives Supernatural Help


Most epic heroes either receive aid from a god or goddess or
battle some superhuman enemy. This is what makes a heros
action epic: they fight something mere mortals cannot battle.
Beowulf has his Grendel; Odysseus his Cyclops. For each hero,
the enemy is unique. You wont see two heroes battling the same
foe.
Summarize
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