The Epic, The Epic Hero, and The Epic World

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The Epic, The Epic Hero, and The Epic World. Prof. Q UT Arlington. The Epic – What is an Epic?. A long narrative. Written in hexameter. Focus on the heroic actions of larger-than-life figures or of a great civilization. Focus on the hero’s relationship to non-natural forces. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Prof. QUT ArlingtonThe Epic, The Epic Hero, and The Epic WorldA long narrative.Written in hexameter.Focus on the heroic actions of larger-than-life figures or of a great civilization.Focus on the heros relationship to non-natural forces.Glorification of the past (repetition, description, setting, behavior).Battles.Motivational speeches.Councils of gods / great leaders.Epics from the oral tradition (Shield of Heracles) focused on the hero and were short.Epics from the written tradition were longer and focus on the hero or the civilization.

The Epic What is an Epic?

In classical hexameter, the six feet follow these rules:A foot can be made up of two long syllables or a long and two short syllables,.The first four feet can contain either one of them.The fifth is almost always a dactyl, and last must be a spondee.

HexameterBegins in medias res.The setting is vast, covering many nations, the world or the universe.Begins with an invocation to a muse (epic invocation).Begins with a statement of the theme.Includes the use of terms, names, or places that are in common use or common knowledge.Contains long lists (epic catalogue).Features long and formal speeches.Shows divine or supernatural intervention on human affairs.Features heroes that embody the values of the civilization.Often (not always) features the tragic hero's descent into the Underworld or hell.Religion matters in epic poetry.Nostalgia is almost always present.

What are the Core Elements of The Epic?The hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in his journey and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society the epic originates from.

Epic / Tragic Hero

Represents the ideals of a nation or raceIs a cultural symbolHeroic Compulsion (Desire to fight)Superior Social Station or Superior QualityTall, Handsome, MuscularHigh physical skill and intelligenceCourageousHas supernatural abilitiesNeeds a crisis to show his true awesomenessAlways has a flaw

Epic / Tragic Hero

Gilgamesh (12th Century B.C.) [Anonymous, Mesopotamia]The Iliad (8th Century B.C.) [Homer, Greece]The Odyssey (8th Century B.C.) [Homer, Greece]Argonautica (3rd Century BC) [Appolonius, Greece]Beowulf (8th Century) [Anonymous, Possibly Scandinavia]Sundiata (13th Century) [Anonymous, Mali]Divina Comedia (14th Century) [Dante, Italy]Paradise Lost (17th Century) [John Milton, England]La Pucelle dOrleans (18th Century) [Voltaire, France]The Epic Epic PoemsImportance of Identity and SelfGood Warrior vs. Good KingBeowulfGilgameshThe role of women in Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh as a reflection of the values of his society. Relationship to The Bible.Love / Lust as a Motivating ForceIliadThe relationship between gods and mortalsMilitary Glory vs. Family Hector vs. ParisAchillies

The term Epic can also apply to:Epic FilmsEpic Novel (specially sci-fi and fantasy)Epic Video GameEpic Music

The Epic Epic Across Media

Epic Fail?

Epic Music Symphonic and Instrumental with Chorus HarmonizationFocus on DrumsSounds are symbolic of war

Music that Tells an EpicMusic of any genre that tells the story of a hero figure, remembers great deeds, or promotes heroic traits.

Epic Music vs Music that Tells an EpicPlay through one of the titles below:ADVENT (Colossal Cave Adventure)http://www.web-adventures.orgAdventure through, or watch a play video (in Youtube) of, one of the titles below:Final Fantasy Final Fantasy 3Final Fantasy 4Final Fantasy 6 (Extra credit for FF 6)Final Fantasy 7Final Fantasy XFinal Fantasy 13

Read the transcript to one of Lost Odysseys Dream Sequences

HomeworkYou may write a piece/ create a video on one or more of these titles as a reader response.