2lecture1780odyssey09SU

2lecture1780odyssey09SU - Lecture 2 Clements 1 School of...

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Lecture 2 Clements 1 School of Arts and Letters, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies Summer 2009 AK/HUMA 1780 6.0A Stories in Diverse Media Homer's Epic— The Odyssey You are probably more familiar with the term epic than you think. We use it to describe things quite commonly. What are its connotations? What do you think someone means when he or she describes something as epic? In a word: big. The film industry has taken on the task of trying to be the vehicle for our current epics. As I mentioned in the last lecture, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an example of filmic epic. Other epics include Troy , which is based on The Iliad —Homer's other long narrative. In terms of content, The Iliad precedes our reading for this week, The Odyssey . Odysseus, you'll remember if you have seen the movie, is actually a character in Troy (he is played by Sean Bean—who also plays Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring funnily enough!). He uses his cunning ways to devise the plan of how to invade the city of Troy: the famous Trojan Horse. Another filmic example, in this case taken from historical material, is Braveheart . Given these examples, what are some of the defining features of this genre? ± Length o each of them is at least 2 ½ hours, if not much longer ± Heroes o usually extraordinary heroes o in most cases they are men o women are usually marginal, either helpers along the way, sometimes the romantic interest, or hindrances and temptations to
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Lecture 2 Clements 2 avoid. Interactions with women often function as tests that the hero must pass in order to move on in his quest. o many, many characters ± The stories often necessitate: o Perseverance o Overcoming hardship, difficulty, or obstacles ± The subject matter tends to include: o Standing up against a tyrant o Good vs. evil (little complication in terms of psychological depth) o Saving people o Huge battles o Many different locations o A long journey or quest Obviously, we are still fascinated by this type of narrative that had its beginnings about 800 years or so Before Common Era (B.C.E.). The superhero from comic books, and the various proliferations into Saturday morning cartoons, movies, and video games, is a modern-day example of this same type of hero (we'll see how this model for a character has changed and how it has not when we get to V for Vendetta and Batman ). North American movie goers are willing to fork over a lot of money to see this same story retold, yes with variations, but basically the same quest narrative of overcoming hardship—over and over and over again. I hate to spoil the ending, but the hero is probably going to figure things out by the end and make it to his destination. What
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Lecture 2 Clements 3 becomes important, then, is how the hero makes that journey, how he faces obstacles, and what he learns in the process. You'll notice with each of the film examples above, there is also a nod to history.
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2010 for the course HUMA 1780 taught by Professor Eliciaclements during the Summer '09 term at York University.

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2lecture1780odyssey09SU - Lecture 2 Clements 1 School of...

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