The Epic Hero Essential Question: What is an epic?
Epic Poem • An epic poem is a long narrative poem that recounts (tells) the deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society.
Characteristics • Hero is a figure of heroic stature, of national or international importance, and of great historical legendary significance • The setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe • The action consists of deeds of great valor or requiring superhuman courage
Characteristics continued… • Supernatural forces – gods, angels, and demons – interest themselves in the action and intervene from time to time • A style of sustained elevation and grand simplicity is used • The epic poet recounts the deeds of his heroes with objectivity
Conventions • The poet opens by stating his theme • The poet invokes a Muse to inspire and instruct him • The poet opens his narrative in medias res – in the middle of things – giving the necessary exposition in later portions of the epic
Conventions continued… • The poet includes catalogues of warriors, ships, armies • The poet includes extended formal speeches by the main characters • The poet makes use of the epic simile (Homeric simile)
What is an epic hero? • An epic hero is the central figure in an epic who has superior qualities and risks personal danger to pursue a grand quest
Characteristics of an EPIC HERO • Is significant and glorified • Is on a quest • Has superior or superhuman strength, intelligence, and/or courage • Is ethical • Risks death for glory or for the greater good of society
Continued… • Performs brave tasks • Is a strong and responsible leader • Reflects the ideals of a particular society - Courage, loyalty, honor, bravery, leadership, self-control, daring and wit