EPICS World Literature I PCCUA
Epics What is an epic? A long narrative poem that tells of the deeds of an epic hero. It is taken from a legend that the tradition of a culture has told as a story for many years. It is usually added to by different poets as it is passed along by word of mouth. Finally, it is written by one poet, for example Homer.
Epic Summation of a Culture Employs Structural Conventions
Epic Conventions • Hero is great national figure: mythical, historical, legendary (cosmic importance) • Epic deals only with matters related to heroic deeds not trivial matters: battles, long journeys. • Epics composed of twelve or twenty-four books (usually).
Epic Conventions (cont.) • Epics use Homeric Similes which introduce using “as when” to compare a something to a secondary object. • Epics begin with 1. Statement of theme 2. Invocation to a Muse 3. Epic question by the Muse is related through a story told by the Muse 4. Poet plunges In Media Res (in the middle)
Other Epic Conventions • Intermingling of gods in human affairs • Formal speeches • Epic catalog, list of ships, people, etc. • Formula • Epithets used “Grey-Eyed Athena” • Type scene or theme/recurrence of same scene over and over with minor variations.
Epic Conventions • Setting of poem large in scale (worldwide heavens or under world) • Ceremonial performance narrated in ceremonial style-not like ordinary speech
Great Epics • The Epic of Gilgamesh • The Iliad • The Odyssey • The Aeneid • Beowulf • Paradise Lost