Characteristics of an Epic From The Odyssey to Star Wars —a formula identified by Joseph Campbell in The Hero With a Thousand Faces
An epic always has a hero • The hero has three main qualities : strength, bravery, and intelligence
Always involves a dangerous and long adventure • Always has many antagonists
Always involves many wars and battles • Man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. gods, man vs. fate, man vs. society, man vs. nature • Examples?
Always involves many parts (books) • Always begins in the middle and uses flashbacks to tell the first part of the story
The Epic Mode • Heroes are often of obscure or mysterious origin or they have reached manhood before learning of their parentage. • Examples?
All go through some form of initiation, which may come prior to the departure or during their journey; hence, the term initiation is attached to stories in which young people meet a challenge and learn something new about themselves.
The heroes’ ways are beset by danger, loneliness, and temptation • Monsters, demons, obstacles, hazards
Supernatural aids • Charms to protect hero • Give advice and direction
Many quest tales supply friends, servants, or disciples as company for the heroes • The hero descends into darkness and is changed after he emerges. The descent into darkness is figurative rather than a literal symbol, for sometimes the “dark moment” takes place at high noon.
The hero suffers a wound, but once again, the wound may not be physical • The hero wins the prize; he is successful in his quest or reaches his goal.
What the hero has sought is usually no more than a symbol of what he finds. The prize may be, and frequently is, different from what the hero expected.
With few exceptions, the heroes are male (especially the mythological ones), but seldom achieve success without the aid of a female.
The problems and solutions usually have universal significance and present valid lessons for all mankind.
300 Trailer • http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/300/trailer1/large.html
Gladiator trailer • http://movies.virginmedia.com/player/default.asp?url=/film/fid42/trailers/trid43/wm/bb.asx&filmid=42&trid=43&partner=virgin&sec=trl&psec=trlaz
Superman returns trailer • http://movies.virginmedia.com/player/default.asp?url=/film/fid437/trailers/trid2245/wm/high.asx&filmid=437&trid=2245&partner=virgin&sec=trl&psec=trlaz
Beowulf trailer • http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/beowulf/