Epic Form

  • Created by: K4typ
  • Created on: 05-12-16 09:47

An explation of the epic and its orgions and the elements that distinguish it. How it has changed over time. 

An epic is a long, often book-length, narrative in verse form that retells the heroic journey of a single person, or group of persons. Elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions.

Many of the world’s oldest written narratives are in epic form, including the Babylonian Gilgamesh, the Sanskrit Mahâbhârata, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid. Both of Homer’s epics are composed in dactylic hexameter, which became the standard for Greek and Latin oral poetry. Homeric verse is characterized by the use of extended similes and formulaic phrases, such as epithets, to fill out the verse form. Greek and Latin epics frequently open with an invocation to the muse, as is shown in the opening lines of the Odyssey:

Of the cunning hero,
The wanderer, blown off course time and again
After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights.

Of all the cities he saw, the minds he grasped,
The suffering deep in his heart at sea
As he…


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