What is an Epic? • Epic--A long narrative poem that tells the adventures of heroes who embody the values of their civilization. • The Iliad is the epic of war • The Odyssey is the epic of a long journey
How Epics Were Told • They were originally told aloud by people who could not read or write • They were composed according to a basic story line • They were made up on the spot
Characteristics of an Epic • A physically impressive hero of national importance • vast setting involving much of the known world as well as lands of the dead • a journey is taken in search of something • evidence of supernatural forces at work • glorification of the hero at the end
Characteristics of an Epic cont. • Contains more than 1000 lines • Involves a hero and a villain • Starts in the middle (en medias res) • Involves the Gods • Athena - goddess of wisdom • Poseidon - god of sea (Odysseus’ enemy)
Epic Hero Characteristics • Possess admirable qualities (trust, respect) • Skillful warrior who possess a special weapon (BOW) • Capable of fear • Has allies and followers • Takes a journey to battle evil
About the author--Homer • He was a blind minstrel, also known as rhapsodies. • Rhapsodies are “singers of tales” • The entertainer and myth-maker of his time • Wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey
Background on “The Odyssey” • Set in the 10th and final year of the Trojan War • The Greeks attacked Troy to avenge an insult suffered by Menelaus, King of Sparta • Helen, his wife, ran off with Paris, the young prince of Troy
The Wooden Horse Trick • Odysseus thought of the trick which led to the downfall of Troy • They fought 10 years outside the walls of Troy • Build an enormous wooden horse and hide Greeks in the belly • Push through the walls of Troy and attack
Odysseus: A Hero in Trouble • Hero of war who has difficulty finding his way back to Ithaca (home). • Married Penelope before leaving for war • Had one son, Telemachus, who was 3 when Odysseus went to war.
Literary Terms • Homeric Simile-- Long comparison (extended metaphor) • Remember that a metaphor is a comparison of 2 unlike things
Literary Elements cont. • Epithet- An adjective or descriptive phrase that is used to characterize a person, place, or thing • Simile--Compares two unlike things using like / as
Words to be Familiar with • Alienation--The feeling of separation • Fate-- Something that unavoidably happens to a person • Hero-- Someone who demonstrates courage or ability • Quest-- A search or pursuit made in order to find something
Any Questions? • Don’t forget to print The Odyssey summary from my website by Wednesday (bring it to class).