Characteristics of an epic: • The hero, generally male, is of noble birth or high position • The hero’s character traits reflect important ideals of his society • The hero performs courageous deeds that reflect the values of the times • His actions determine the fate of many
Characteristics of an epic continued: • The setting is vast • Written in formal diction with a serious tone • Characters have long, formal speeches • Hero’s journey (slides to follow) • Poem reflects timeless values (courage, etc) • Treats universal themes (good vs. evil, etc.)
Beowulf Key Elements and Hero’s Journey • The plot is complicated by supernatural beings or events. • The actions of the hero often determine the fate of a nation or group of people • The poem reflects values such as courage and honor.
The hero takes a journey to foreign lands. • 3 phases of the hero journey: • Separation – a break away from local social order, the beginning of a quest. • Initiation – a long deep retreat inward with a series of chaotic encounters which provide new insight. • Return – reintegration into society, coming back as as a more evolved person.
The general points of the cycle include: • a test (to test worthiness to complete said quest) • a main antagonist, often supernatural • a magical/unreal world, unable to be visited by a normal human, that the hero visits (e.g. the underworld or the world of the gods) • a resurrection • (either from being dead or from a dead-like state of mind, or a hero who was thought to be dead who was rediscovered)
While the poem is Old English, it focuses on the Geats (a people who lived in the southern part of Sweden) and Danes.
The action of Beowulf is not straightforward. The narrator foreshadows actions that will occur later, talking about events that are yet to come. Characters talk about things that have already happened in the poem and recall incidents and characters outside the poem's main narrative.
Themes & Conflict • Look for the struggles of … • good against evil • strength against weakness • light against dark
Identify a hero or heroine from a film or story and explain how their journey fits the three phases – be sure to give examples.
Read pages 27 – 31 and in full sentences answer the following. • When was Beowulf written? • What is a hero? Explain your definition and give examples. • 3. What is courage? How would most people today define courage? • 4. What is an epic? • 5. Define and give an example of a kenning. Write an original kenning about someone you know. • 6. In today’s society we have our own monsters, who or what are they and what do they represent? • 7. List three modern fictional heroes and explain how their journeys fit the epic hero cycle.How are they separated? What is their initiation? How have they been changed?
Read through the descriptions of the hero and villain archetypes. 1. Decide on five of the archetypes that fit your personality best and draw and label a pie chart representing these archetypes proportionately. 2. Write in paragraph format about how the three most dominant archetypes show up in your personality. Be specific by giving multiple examples.
Carl Jung Mythological Analysis • A student of Freud who differed in views of human nature. • Jung believed that human nature was more than a collection of repressed desires and fears. • He was influenced by religion, art and mythology. • Jung divided the mind into the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. is the reservoir of all human experience. According to Jung all people were connected at this level .
Mythological Analysis • Archetypes comes from the Greek word archetypos, meaning “first of its kind.” • They are universal images/concepts/ ideas that come from shared common experiences, which transcend time, place and culture. • The value in using archetypal characters in fiction derives from the fact that we unconsciously already recognize the archetype, and thus the motivations, behind the character's behavior. examples