English Conference - Epic Conventions

English Conference - Epic Conventions - Achilles temper...

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Epic Conventions in PL Epic convention: Invocation of the Muses In medias res: in the middle of things (usually A-B-C, epic: B-A-C) Phrase that describes the hero without naming him: one big characteristic Ex. Achilles’ rage: Epic argument/subject Song/sing: oral traditions Quest: often warfare (Illyad), founding a city (Aeneid), going home (Odyssey) Last sentence of the opening ends with an epic question: asking the Muses to answer it PL: epic argument, purpose: justify ways of God, invocation of the muses, relating Muse to Christian tradition, epic question, in medias res. What is missing in the opening is the hero Milton wants to do something superior Usually epic genre celebrates a culture (Illyad: Greek, Aeneid: Greek, FQ: English). In PL: Universal history, all of creation, prophetic aspect. Beginning to end of time. Usually epic sums up a culture, but this one wants to sum up the entire human experience. Typical hero: warriors.
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Unformatted text preview: Achilles: temper, half-God: invincibility/strength. Odysseus: cunning, wits. Possible heroes in PL: • Mankind: Adam/Eve • The Son • God • Satan • Milton: very big ego • Adam/Eve: like tragic heroes because they fall. But not very pro-active. • The Son: in PL he does not do much yet. • God: always plans everything, nothing dramatic about what he is doing • Satan: the one that is on a quest. Achillean attributes: he even wears his armor. We can relate to Satan the most. Why would Milton do that? It has to be credible that Adam and Eve fell, therefore we, the readers, must be tempted by Satan also. • Milton: Milton gets very involved. Book I, III, VII, IX: invocation of the Muses, purification of Milton’s soul. Compare to FQ: very detached. Initial plan was to make a play out of PL: how to reference God on stage? This led to accommodation, and the writing of an epic because this would be complicated....
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