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Transcript of Epic Poetry
The textbook definition:
A long narrative poem about a serious subject involving the journey of a hero or heroic group. They were recited to entertain, inspire, and teach the audience.
1. Epic Hero
2. In medias res
3. Invocation of the Muse
4. Epic catalog
5. Interest of the Gods
Characteristics of an Epic
Larger than life qualities
Has good on his side
Stands alone, untouched and unrivaled, in battle.
Smarter than everyone else.
A tragic flaw
Traits of an Epic Hero
Instead of starting at the very beginning of
a story, epic poems pick up in the middle of
the action. Necessary background information
is supplied throughout the poem.
In Medias Res
Originally, these poems were sung accompanied by harps. This way they could be passed down over generations.
The most interesting thing about epic poetry is what they reveal about the culture that created them. They teach us about their religion, dress, homes, families, the roles of men and women, and social values.
They also contain clues about the things that people in ancient cultures feared and did not understand such as death, storms, and natural disasters.
Invocation of the muse
In the beginning, the orator asks the muse for
assistance in creating an exciting, effective, and accurate story. It creates a sense of excitement in the audience.
Orators would give lengthy descriptions of ships, warriors, armies, gifts, etc.
(Remember, these people didn't get out much and didn't have pictures. This was their version of movies)
Interest of the Gods
The Gods and Goddesses take personal
interest in the events and will intervene
to help or hurt the Epic Hero.
Not to be mistaken with this Homer.
Not even close. Greek Homer would have
been a genius with words, and he would
never have even seen a doughnut.