The Epic, The Epic Hero, and The Epic World Prof. Q UT Arlington
The Epic – What is an Epic? • A long narrative. • Written in hexameter. • Focus on the heroic actions of larger-than-life figures or of a great civilization. • Focus on the hero’s relationship to non-natural forces. • Glorification of the past (repetition, description, setting, behavior). • Battles. • Motivational speeches. • Councils of gods / great leaders. • Epics from the oral tradition (Shield of Heracles) focused on the hero and were short. • Epics from the written tradition were longer and focus on the hero or the civilization.
Hexameter • In classical hexameter, the six feet follow these rules: • A foot can be made up of two long syllables or a long and two short syllables,. • The first four feet can contain either one of them. • The fifth is almost always a dactyl, and last must be a spondee.
What are the Core Elements of ‘The Epic’? • Begins in medias res. • The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe. • Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation). • Begins with a statement of the theme. • Includes the use of terms, names, or places that are in common use or common knowledge. • Contains long lists (epic catalogue). • Features long and formal speeches. • Shows divine or supernatural intervention on human affairs. • Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization. • Often (not always) features the tragic hero's descent into the Underworld or hell. • Religion matters in epic poetry. • Nostalgia is almost always present.
Epic / Tragic Hero • The hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. • The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society the epic originates from. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD51mcnc9Hg
Epic / Tragic Hero • Represents the ideals of a nation or race • Is a cultural symbol • Heroic Compulsion (Desire to fight) • Superior Social Station or Superior Quality • Tall, Handsome, Muscular • High physical skill and intelligence • Courageous • Has supernatural abilities • Needs a crisis to show his true awesomeness • Always has a flaw
The Epic – Epic Poems • Gilgamesh (12th Century B.C.) [Anonymous, Mesopotamia] • The Iliad (8th Century B.C.) [Homer, Greece] • The Odyssey (8th Century B.C.) [Homer, Greece] • Argonautica (3rd Century BC) [Appolonius, Greece] • Beowulf (8th Century) [Anonymous, Possibly Scandinavia] • Sundiata (13th Century) [Anonymous, Mali] • DivinaComedia (14th Century) [Dante, Italy] • Paradise Lost (17th Century) [John Milton, England] • La Pucelled’Orleans (18th Century) [Voltaire, France]
Beowulf Gilgamesh • Importance of Identity and Self • Good Warrior vs. Good King • The role of women in Gilgamesh. • Gilgamesh as a reflection of the values of his society. • Relationship to The Bible. • Love / Lust as a Motivating Force Iliad The relationship between gods and mortalsMilitary Glory vs. Family Hector vs. Paris Achillies
The Epic – Epic Across Media • The term “Epic” can also apply to: • Epic Films • Epic Novel (specially sci-fi and fantasy) • Epic Video Game • Epic Music
Epic Music vs Music that Tells an Epic • Epic Music • Symphonic and Instrumental with Chorus Harmonization • Focus on Drums • Sounds are symbolic of war • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsNlhUxwGjU • Music that Tells an Epic • Music of any genre that tells the story of a hero figure, remembers great deeds, or promotes heroic traits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9QjrmvW2t8
Homework • Play through one of the titles below: • ADVENT (Colossal Cave Adventure) • http://www.web-adventures.org • Adventure • http://www.simmphonic.com/programming/adventure.htm • Play through, or watch a play video (in Youtube) of, one of the titles below: • Final Fantasy • Final Fantasy 3 • Final Fantasy 4 • Final Fantasy 6 (Extra credit for FF 6) • Final Fantasy 7 • Final Fantasy X • Final Fantasy 13 Read the transcript to one of Lost Odyssey’s Dream Sequences http://lostodyssey.wikia.com/wiki/A_Thousand_Years_of_Dreams/Dream_Trigger_Locations You may write a piece/ create a video on one or more of these titles as a reader response.