Epics and mock epics

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A presentation on epics and mock epics including summary of Beowulf and battle of the frogs and mice.You can also attach a video of the battle of the frogs and mice from you-tube and get the summary of Aeneid from Google.

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Epics and mock epics

  1. 1. A Presentation by Avani Dwivedi Debopama Debnath Nikhil Goyal Harshdeep Singh Hora
  2. 2. What is an Epic?  A long narrative poem ordinarily concerning a serious subject  Contains details of heroic deeds  Describes events significant to a culture or nation  The action consists of deeds of great value or superhuman strength and/or courage  Is of great legendary significance  Centred on a heroic/quasi-divine figure on whose actions depends the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race
  3. 3. Characteristics of Epics  Features long and formal speeches  Shows divine intervention on human affairs  Features heroes that embody the values of the civilisation  Often features the tragic hero’s descent into the underworld  Setting is vast in scope, covering nations, the world, or universe  Presence of supernatural forces
  4. 4. The Epic Hero  The hero is a figure of great national or even cosmic importance  Usually the ideal man of his culture  Often has superhuman or divine traits  Has an imposing physical stature and is greater in all ways than the common man
  5. 5. Mock Epics  Also known as mock-heroic or heroi-comic  Typically satires or parodies  Mock common classical stereotypes of heroes and heroic literature  Typically, mock-heroic works either put a fool in the role of the hero or exaggerate the heroic qualities to such a point that they become absurd  Accept same metre, vocabulary & rhetoric of epics
  6. 6. History of Mock Epics  Became popular in the post-restoration & Augustan periods in England  In the 17th century, epics and pastoral genres had become exhausted  Epic genre was heavily criticised, because it expressed traditional values of feudal society  Among new genres, satirical literature was particularly effective in criticising old habits and values
  7. 7. John Dryden  Responsible for dominance among satirical genres of the mock-heroic in the later Restoration era  Dryden’s MacFlecknoe is the locus classicus of the mock heroic  His prosody is identical to the regular heroic verse : iambic pentameter closed couplets  The parody is not formal, merely contextual and ironic
  8. 8. Beowulf  Oldest surviving epic poem in English literature  Out of the 30,000 lines of literature left from the Anglo-Saxon period, almost 4,000 lines are preserved in this epic poem  Story of the supernatural, as well as a record of Anglo-Saxon history
  9. 9. The First Battle : Grendel  Story begins with the description of King Hrothgar, who constructed the great hall Hereot for his people for celebrations  Grendel, a troll-like monster, pained by the noise attacks the hall and devours many of the warriors while they’re asleep  Beowulf, a young warrior from Geatland leaves his homeland to help Hrothgar  Beowulf battles Grendel and ultimately kills him by tearing Grendel’s arm from his body
  10. 10. The Second Battle : Grendel’s Mother  Grendel’s mother angered by her son’s death attacks the hall  Hrothgar and Beowulf track Grendel’s mother to her lair under a lake  Beowulf dives into the lake and engages in a fierce battle with Grendel’s mother  Beowulf ultimately beheads her
  11. 11. Third Battle : The Dragon  Beowulf returns home and becomes king of his people  One day, a slave steals a golden cup from the lair of a dragon  Furious, the dragon leaves its lair and attacks Beowulf’s kingdom  Beowulf battles the dragon, kills it, but is himself mortally wounded
  12. 12. An Analysis of Beowulf  An epic poem in which the hero travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural forces  The Anglo-Saxon period had two types of poetry – heroic ( achievements of warriors ) & elegiac (the loss of loved ones ) – Beowulf has both  Heroic because of the feats of Beowulf, elegiac because of the lament at his loss at the end of the poem
  13. 13. Battle of the Frogs and Mice
  14. 14. Battle of Frogs and Mice  Tackles grave subjects of war and revenge  Plenty of bathos  Divine intervention by Zeus  Extremely satirical and humorous – civilised animals, as violent as the Iliad – just with frogs & mice in the plot  Similarity – war, revenge, divine retribution
  15. 15. Epic and Mock Epic – A Comparison Epic Mock Epic  Oral & poetic language  Public & remarkable deeds  Legendary hero  Collective enterprise  Generalised setting in time & place  Fable & action are grave & solemn  Sentiments & diction preserve the sublime  Written & referential language  Private, daily experiencer  Humanized, “ordinary” characters  Individual enterprise  Particularized setting in time & place  Fable & action – light & ridiculous  Sentiments & diction preserve the ludicrous
  16. 16. Significance of Epic Poetry  To arouse the spirit of warriors to heroic actions  Praised their exploits  Supplied warriors models of ideal heroic behaviour  Assured a long & glorious recollection of their deeds  Heroic songs were often sung before battles – boosted morale of combatants
  17. 17. Importance of Mock-Epic Poetry in 18th Century  18th century – exaltation of wit & reason came to forefront of literature  Exposed superficial follies & moral corruption of society during neoclassical period  Society embraced an obsession with “decorum”, a facade of established traditions & vanities
  18. 18.  Satires during this period aimed to point out shortcomings of society through ridiculing accepted standards of thought  Chastised hypocrisy in Britain at that time  Poets like Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift inspired to nudge British society into new era of enlightenment with regards to social & political morality

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