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Word Count: 738
A classical epic definition contains two distinctions a literary style and a story It is a narrative poem that is told in an elevated formal and grand style It is not just a story but a traditional history depicting events that effect entire civilizations centered on or around a monumental hero An epic was originally performed before an audience at a dinner or a special occasion it would have been passed down in the oral tradition Homers work is an example of an epic that was passed down orally The first epic in the literary style was written later by Virgil Barker Epic works are marked by the use of several specific devices They traditionally begin with an invocation of the muses and a brief introduction of the story Virgil has multiple invocations but Homer only has invocations at the beginnings Epithets are used in epics as descriptive tags Homer and Virgil used epithets either as filler in a metric line of poetry or possibly as a mnemonic Epithets Aeneas is often pious Odysseus is known as wise or wily Achilles is called swift-footed Another device used in epics are similes They relate an object or event with a familiar image to give the comparison depth and clarity they also intensify the emotional experience for the listenerreader One of my favorite examples of a Homeric simile is in The Iliad As when some mighty wave that thunders on the beach when the west wind has lashed it into fury- it has reared its head afar and now comes crashing down on the shore it bows its arching crest high over the jagged rocks and spews its salt foam in all directions- even so did the serried phalanxes of the Danaans march steadfastly to battle Iliad Book IV Such similes add to the richness of Homer I found them to be a delight Homer initiated the use of catalogues as another epic device and Virgil mimicked
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