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Unit 5 Folk Literature A people s literature is the greattextbook for real knowledge ofthem The writings of the dayshow the quality of the people as.no historical reconstruction can Edith Hamilton skip intro What is folk literature Folk literature refers to a body of cultural.knowledge and beliefs passed from onegeneration to the next both orally and in What are your favoritetypes of folk literature Fairy tales. Fables Folk tales Folk songs spirituals Legends Tall tales. What memorable characters do you associatewith folk literature What makes these characters memorable What are the purposes offolk literature . Folk literature can entertain readers enlighten readers by sharing the human conditionor experience provide readers with an escape from reality. help readers learn about themselves and others teach readers lessons in morality allow readers to explore diverse Characteristics ofFolk Literature. Like fiction folk literature has the elements ofcharacters plot setting and conflict Folk stories also have their own distinctcharacteristics including stereotypical characters such as good evil . plots that focus on an initial problem a quest to solve theproblem and the tasks and obstacles involved in the settings in olden times and faraway places supernatural and repetitious elements Early Folk Literature. Every early culture around the world createdits own folk literature Learning about these tales and songs canprovide insight into the cultures that produced Early Folk Literature. Much of the world s early folk literatureoriginated as part of the oral tradition The oral tradition is the passing of a work an idea or a custom by word of mouth from generation togeneration . Early stories were composed aspoems songs or prose tales Early Folk Literature Some early folk literature stories helpedancient inhabitants of Earth understand the.unknown world around them Other tales told of gods goddesses and heroesin their cultures Still other stories related humanexperiences ideas and emotions to.serve as moral lessons Influences ofFolk Literature As centuries passed these early stories becamethe inspiration for many writers . These writers borrowed the characters events and ideas for their own works William Shakespeare s The Tragedy of Romeo andJuliet refers to several ancient myths W B Yeats s ballad Song of Wandering Aengus .draws on the legends of Aengus the Celtic god of Influences ofFolk Literature The characters and events in early folkliterature have also inspired artists . Many painters have drawn their subjects frommythology For example the fall of Icarus a character in Greekmythology is the subject of famous paintings by Pieter Brueghel. Pablo Picasso Marc Chagall Influences ofFolk Literature The influences of folk literature can also be.seen in music drama and films What familiar songs plays or movies includecharacters or events from fairy tales folk tales legends or myths Resurgence of.Folk Literature In the past two centuries there has been arenewed interest in folk literature Storytelling spans all cultures values andways of life and has therefore gained.worldwide attention Epics are a very old form of folk literature dating back more than 2 000 years These ancient stories have remained popularfor their ability to entertain readers . Epics often contain larger than life characters exotic settings suspenseful plots There isis only.There only onething whichcan master epic materialepic material into.into unity unity andability toability to seein particular.particular humanhuman experienceexperiencesome significantsome significant symbolism.symbolism of of man sman s general Lascelles Abercrombie Lascelles AbercrombieHow do the choices and actions of epic heroes.reflect the struggles of humankind Epics are long stories that involve gods andheroes and that are often told in verse Grand in length and scope epics are portraits ofcultures that provide clues about societies . legends beliefs values ways of life Epics and Bards Epics began in the oral tradition long before.there were written historical accounts The people of ancient Greece often turned tothe wandering poets known as bards to heartales of the past Storytelling of Bards. The bards of ancient Greece were masterfulstorytellers and historians They would sing or recite long narrative poemsabout the gods goddesses and heroes of days gone by . They would often accompanytheir tales by playing lyres small stringed instrumentsresembling handheld harps Storytelling of Bards. The bard often improvised the tale but typically started with an invocation or a plea to the Muse goddess of poetry for divine inspiration began the tale in medias res or in the middle ofthings with the epic hero well into the journey. used flashbacks to fill in prior incidents had the epic hero reach a point of defeat butcontinue on the quest ended the tale by revealing the epic hero s fate Epithets and Epic Similes. In telling the tale the bardused many word formulas such as epithets and epic These phrases helped thebard to memorize the tale . Epithets Epithets are brief descriptive phrases thatemphasize an important characteristic of aperson or thing In The Odyssey Homer repeatedly refers to. versatile Odysseus divine Calypso and rosy fingered dawn Epic Similes Epic similes are extended comparisons that go.on for several lines Epic similes are also known as Homeric Like epithets epic similes were memorizedand repeated by the bards each time they toldthe story . Example of an Epic Simile The epic simile below compares the turningof Odysseus s hot spike in the Cyclops eye tothe turning of a shipwright s drill in planking drewititfrom.andmymyfour fourfellowsgave meaahand hand luggingluggingititnearnearthe theCyclops.thannaturalnaturalforceforcenervednervedthem them straightforwardthey.forward theysprinted sprinted liftedliftedit it andrammedititdeepininhis.deep hiscratercratereye andIIleanedleanedon onititturningititas.turning asaashipwrightshipwrightturnsturnsaadrillininplanking planking having.havingmenmenbelowbelowtotoswingthetwo handledthe two handledstrapstrapthatspinsititininthe.thegroove fromThe from TheOdyssey Bards and Their Audience As the ancient Greeks listened to the tales of.the bards they were filled with awe and fear They strongly believed that the gods andgoddesses in these stories exerted a powerfulinfluence in their own lives for better or for The Ancient Bard Homer. According to legend the greatest of theancient bards was Homer Homer produced two famousworks The Iliad andThe Odyssey . These are considered themost important epics in theWestern tradition of folkliterature Homer s Epics. The Iliad and The Odyssey provide us withinsight into the world of the ancient Greeks These exciting stories are told in memorable poetic language Their plots raise questions about humankind s.relationship with the world The Iliad The Iliad tells the story of the Trojan War abattle fought in around 1200 BCE by theGreeks and the Trojans . The Trojans were inhabitants of Troy which isnow part of Turkey For ten years the Greeks attempted to conquerTroy but could not penetrate the city walls Finally one of the soldiers Odysseus .devises a plan to defeat the Trojans The Iliad Odysseus and his companions erect a Trojanhorse and place it outside the city walls Believing the horse is a gift from the Greeks .the Trojans bring the horse into the city The Greek soldiers hidden inside the horseunlock the gates of Troy The soldiers then let in theircomrades who eventually.defeat the Trojans The Odyssey Homer s other epic The Odyssey picks upwhere The Iliad leaves off This story describes the ten year voyage of.Odysseus and his men from Troy back to Ithaca In this epic the charactersconfront vicious monstersand deadly temptations asthey make their journey . The Odyssey This excerpt from Book 1 of The Odysseyoffers a brief outline of the story to come Singtotome Sing me Muse .Muse and andthroughthroughmemetellmanskilledskilledininallwaysofofcontending .contending thewanderer the wanderer harriedharriedforforyearsyearsononend .after heplunderedplunderedthe thestrongholdstrongholdproudheightheightof ofTroy .thetownlandsandlearnedand learnedthethemindsmindsof ofmanymanydistant.distantmen andweatheredand weatheredmanymanybitterbitternightsheartatatsea .foughtonlyonlylife totobringhisshipmatesshipmateshome fromThe. from TheOdyssey Other Notable Epics Besides the epics of Greece other notableepics have originated in ancient cultures Gilgamesh originated in Mesopotamia . Gilgamesh is the oldest epic poem and its hero isconsidered the first superhero in literature Other Notable Epics Mahabharata and Ramayana originated in Mahabharata is the longest epic poem seven.times the length of both The Iliad and The Aeneid originated in the Roman Empire El Cid originated in Spain Characteristics of Epics Epics share certain characteristics including. larger than life heroes or characters withsuperhuman strength and courage diverse exotic settings plots that focus on the hero s difficult journey orquest to achieve a goal. conflicts involving struggles with gods or monstersthat test the hero s strength and wit themes that impart wisdom ormorality to humankind Epic Hero. Central to the narrative of an epic is the maincharacter known as the epic hero An epic hero is an archetype ortype of character that has beenappearing in the literature of the.world since ancient times Qualities of an Epic Hero Historically an epic hero is a male of royal lineagewho possesses certain qualities that help or hinder himin his quest . These traits include courage arrogance or pride resourcefulness intelligence. faithfulness vulnerability Epic Hero Although an epic hero possesses these humancharacteristics he also has extraordinary or.supernatural abilities These abilities allow himto conquer monsters andother demonic creatures Contemporary Epic Hero. Through the centuries the definition of an epichero has changed Contemporary epic heroes may be male or female emerge from any social status. undergo a spiritual emotional or physical journey What heroes in contemporary literature aremodeled after the epic hero archetype Epic Hero Cycle The structure of an epic follows a distinct.pattern known as an epic hero cycle In an epic hero cycle the hero is charged witha quest that tests his or her worthiness This quest typically involves abattle with an evil force . Epic Hero Cycle Along the journey the epic hero often enters asupernatural world and is assisted by manymythical creatures Just when the hero feels defeated he or she.gathers resolve and eventually succeeds In the end the epic hero often ascends to the SUMMARY Epics Ancient epics are still relevant incontemporary society . After reading an epic ask yourself How does this epic offer insights into ancient How does it forge connections among diverse What aspects of humanity are shown in the choicesand actions of the characters . What lessons in virtuous behavior are evident Unit 5: Folk Literature Epics * Lecture Notes Outline Epics are long stories that involve gods and heroes and that are often told in verse. Grand in length and scope, epics are portraits of cultures that provide clues about societiesâ€™ legends, beliefs/values, laws, arts, and ways of life.