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English 9 Introduction to Epics and The Odyssey

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Rachel Blythe

on 30 November 2016

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Transcript of English 9 Introduction to Epics and The Odyssey

Introduction to Epics and The Odyssey
What is an epic?
Epics are long, narrative poems that tell the adventures of heroes who, in some way, embody the values of their civilization.
Examples of Epics
What is an epic hero?
The epic hero is a "larger-than-life" person who embodies the values of his or her culture.
Main (human) Characters:
Who is Homer?
Famous Works
The Iliad
is the primary model for an epic of war.
The Odyssey
is the model for an epic of the long journey
plot centers around an epic hero and his/her journey
involves deeds of superhuman strength
vast setting
involves supernatural beings or forces
invocation of a muse
references well-known warriors
includes formal speeches
epic similes
Characteristics of an Epic Hero
goes on a quest/journey
"live on after death": they are forever remembered by those who live after them
a regular human whose actions and accomplishments set him or her apart
overcomes great obstacles and opponents
demonstrates great skill or wit
Examples of Epic Heroes
Conventions Explained
epic simile
, also known as a homeric simile, is a comparison of two things developed over several lines of verse. It's basically a LONG simile.
is a descriptive phrase that presents a particular trait of a person or thing. (Alexander the Great)
: The poem begins with the invocation of a muse to inspire the poet--a plea for help or a prayer to an appropriate supernatural being. The speaker asks that this being provide him the suitable emotion, creativity, or diction to finish the poem.

Odysseus: Epic hero who is on a journey from the Trojan War to his home, Ithaca.
Penelope: Odysseus's wife
Telemachus: Odysseus's son

Not much is known about the life of Homer. He is said to be the Greek poet who is credited for writing both
The Iliad
The Odyssey
. Many sources say that Homer was also blind.
Not this guy!
Write two epithets about yourself!

Mrs. Blythe's examples:
Master of Maggie
Lover of Coffee
Teacher of the best students!
King of the Gods; Symbol: thunderbolt
Queen of the Gods; Symbol: wedding ring, peacock
God of the Sea; Symbol: horse, trident, dolphin
God of the Underworld; Symbol: pomegranate, cap of invisibility
Goddess of heart/home; Symbol: fireplace
Goddess of wisdom/war; Symbol: owl, tree

12 Olympians/Main Gods & Goddesses
Its diction (word choice) is elevated in style. It employs a formal, dignified, objective tone.
Narrator is objective and omniscient (all knowing)
The narrative starts
in medias res
, in the middle of the action. Subsequently, the earlier events leading up to the start of the poem will be recounted in the characters' narratives or in flashbacks.
Other Characteristics/Conventions
Goddess of the moon/hunt; Symbol: moon, deer
God of Light/Music; Symbol: sun
Goddess of Love/Beauty; Symbol: dove
God of Fire/Technology; Symbol: fire, hammer
God of War; Symbol: dog
Messenger God; Symbol: winged sandals
is a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical, cultural, literary or political significance. There are a lot of allusions to gods and goddesses in
The Odyssey
What does Odyssey mean?
An "odyssey" is a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.

Basically, it's a hero's journey.
The term is applied to the travels of the main character, Odysseus.
Odysseus' journey is about his travels home after he fought in the Trojan War.
The Trojan what?
Ok, fine. A little bit of background...
Paris of Troy...
...falls in love with another man's wife...
Helen of Sparta
...and promptly kidnaps her.
This is NOT OKAY with the Greeks...
They leave Greece with a large army, including their hero, Odysseus
...and destroy Troy with a rather ridiculous trick,
The Trojan Horse!
What archetype would George be?
Curley's wife?
Any archetypal settings?
Any archetypal situations?
Now that you're done with your essay...
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