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Introduction to the Epic
Transcript of Introduction to the Epic
Who is Homer?
A blind Greek poet.
Wandered from town to town
chanting his poetry, accompanied
by his lyre.
A collection of Greek poems
perhaps passed down through
an unknown number of
May have lived anywhere from 1100-600 B.C.
For our puposes, it's Homer's Odyssey.
and what makes his epics such "classics?"
Creation of characters
with uncomplicated motives
Plots that blend the joy of living with
the tragedy of life
Long, musical lines
(poetry, as we call it!)
What are the characteristics of an Epic?
Narrative Poem filled with symbols, rhythms and images, told via the oral tradition
Tells of the achievements of heroic characters who embody the values of their culture.
Miraculous events and supernatural beings are often included.
in medias res:
"in the middle of things"
Story begins, flashes back to explain prior events, then moves ahead.
the invocation to the muse:
The poet, who would be reciting the poem aloud, begins by praying to the muses (goddesses of the arts) for help in telling the story.
Statement of theme:
Due to the long, complex nature of
these epic poems, the poet would begin by announcing what the recitation was to be about.
re-namings of characters, gods, or things by adjectival phrasing.
"Odysseus, canniest of men"
They add description, and it can be confusing oif we don't see what is being said.
Long, formal speeches:
You won't miss them when
Intervention from the gods
Appearing in various forms, the gods of Olympus will aid (or hinder) Odysseus on his journey.
Epic Simile: Longer
than normal similes, these comparisons create vivid images and can help to aid or clarify the story.
The hero of the story will embody the values of the civilization. Hospitality will be one prevelant example of this.
Many questions remain before we start reading....
What is an ODYSSEY?
Why was Odysseus on an Odyssey?
Where was he coming from and why?
How will he ever get home?
How will we ever understand this big long poem?
What will happen when he gets there?