Discuss The Iliad as an epic
Definition of an Epic: An epic is a long narrative poem, on a great and serious subject related in a lofty style and centered on a heroic figure. Its actions depend on the fate of tribe or nation or the human race.
There are two types of epics; one is primary epic and another is secondary epic. Primary epic is oral but not written. It comes from generation to generation. For example- The Iliad by Homer is a primary epic.
Characteristics of an epic: There are many characteristics of an epic. These are mentioned bellow-
a. Invocation: Invocation means getting inspiration, help, courage and guidance to the muse, goddess of poetry, at the beginning of a hard task like an epic so that the author can complete it successfully.
In The Iliad, Homer also seeks inspiration to the goddess of poetry before starting it.
b. Statement of Purpose or theme: Theme means the central idea of a literary work most often suggested indirectly; for example, the main theme of The Iliad by Homer is the glory of war, military values over family life; the short time of human life.
Achilles inspires the solders by uttering that; leaving out from the battle field without joining in the fight is the sign of coward and sacrificing the lives as the heroes is better and it also brings honor and dignity.
c. Epic Hero: An epic hero is a distinguished person who is totally different from the common people. He never thinks about himself rather he thinks about the benefit of his nation or race or tribe where he lives. If he defeats, his nation will also be defeated. So it can be said that an epic hero is a leader and protector of his own nation or a central hero of superman quality who fights for national or collective interest.
For example; In “The Iliad”, the central character and great solder Acillis wrath and anger bounds the solders of Greek armies to suffer a lot. They have suffered only for the fault of Acillis.
d. Use of Epic Similie: Epic similie means an open comparison between two different or dissimilar things or objects of which one is fairly elaborated.
Such as – In “The Iliad” Hector has been compared to a boar and a lion.
“He was like a wild-boar or a lion when he turns this way.”
e. Involvement of super natural elements: The Iliad is a story in which the gods and goddess play a vital role. In many fights the gods and goddess take part physically and mentally in favor of the solders of different countries. In the Trojan War the god of Sea Poseidon supports the Greek armies on the other hand god Apollo supports the Trojan armies.
f. Long description of things and events: The prince of Trozan Paris abducted Helen, who was the most beautiful lady in ancient Greek. Then many dangerous fights had happened between Greek and Trojan only for Helen for the longest time. From this simple point Homer has composed the epic within 15000 lines.
g. Lofty Style: The instruments or equipment, presenting of the battles, vision, characters, description, art, theme etc. that Homer has used to continue the epic are totally grand which make the epic fruitful.