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Epic Literature: Chief Characteristics


Epic Literature: Chief Characteristics

Epic Literature Chief Characteristics

Epic Literature Chief Characteristics

Epic Literature: Chief Characteristics


Epic literature, a genre with roots deeply embedded in ancient storytelling traditions, encompasses grand narratives that chronicle the heroic deeds and adventures of legendary figures. Across cultures and time periods, epic literature has served as a repository of cultural values, moral lessons, and historical events. This article delves into the chief characteristics that define epic literature, examining the elements that contribute to the enduring appeal of these monumental works.

Chief Characteristics of Epic Literature:

Heroic Protagonist:

At the heart of every epic lies a heroic protagonist, often endowed with extraordinary qualities and abilities. This central figure embarks on a quest or journey, facing formidable challenges and adversaries. The hero’s actions and decisions shape the narrative, reflecting the ideals and virtues valued by the culture that produces the epic. Examples of such protagonists include Achilles in Homer’s “Iliad” and Beowulf in the Old English epic poem “Beowulf.”

Quest or Journey:

Epic literature typically unfolds as a quest or journey undertaken by the protagonist. This journey is not only physical but also symbolic, representing the hero’s inner transformation and growth. The quest is often fueled by a noble purpose, such as the pursuit of glory, the protection of a homeland, or the quest for knowledge. The hero’s path is fraught with challenges, allowing for the exploration of courage, virtue, and resilience.

Supernatural Elements:

Epics frequently incorporate supernatural elements, blurring the lines between the mundane and the fantastical. Gods, goddesses, mythical creatures, and magic often play pivotal roles in the narrative. These supernatural elements add an otherworldly dimension to the epic, elevating it beyond the ordinary and contributing to the sense of awe and wonder associated with the genre.

Elevated Language and Style:

Epic literature is characterized by its use of elevated language and a distinctive style. The language employed is often formal, grand, and majestic, befitting the epic’s grandiose themes and heroic subject matter. The use of epic similes, metaphors, and elaborate descriptions enhances the narrative’s richness and complexity, creating a sense of timelessness.

Invocation of the Muse:

Many epic poems begin with an invocation to the muse, a divine source of inspiration. The poet seeks the muse’s guidance and assistance in recounting the epic tale. This convention serves both as a literary device and as a nod to the cultural and religious beliefs of the time, emphasizing the epic’s importance as a cultural artifact.

Homeric Epithets and Formulas:

In the tradition of ancient Greek epics, such as those attributed to Homer, recurring epithets and formulas are employed. These are fixed phrases or descriptions used repeatedly throughout the narrative. This repetition serves to reinforce key themes, maintain the rhythmic flow of the narrative, and aid in oral recitation—a common mode of transmission in the early stages of epic literature.

Cultural Significance:

Epics often carry profound cultural significance, serving as foundational texts that help define a community’s identity. They encapsulate a society’s values, beliefs, and historical memories. Epics become a collective expression of a people’s heritage, transmitting cultural knowledge from one generation to the next.


Epic literature, with its heroic protagonists, epic quests, supernatural elements, elevated language, invocations, and cultural significance, stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling. Whether in the form of ancient classics like the “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” or later works like “Beowulf” and “The Divine Comedy,” epic literature continues to captivate audiences and provide insights into the human condition. Through its timeless themes and universal appeal, epic literature remains a foundational and influential genre in the literary landscape. 0 0 0.

Epic Literature Chief Characteristics

List of Reviews of Some Epic Literature

Ran Rasa-A Review
Paravi Sandesaya-A Review
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace-A Review
Underworld by Don DeLillo-A Review
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy-A Review
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen-A Review
Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell-A Review
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier-A Review
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt-A Review
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan-A Review
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-A Review
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Díaz-A Review
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen-A Review
There There by Tommy Orange-A Review
‘Cantar de Mio Cid’- A Review
La Chanson de Roland-A Review
Poema de Fernan Gonzalez-A Review
Libro de Alexandre-A Review
El libro de buen amor by Juan Ruiz—A Review
Romancero-A Review
Cancionero-A Review
La Araucana-by Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga-A Review
Jerusalem Conquered by Lope de Vega-A Review
La Numancia by Cervantes-A Review
Cancion del Pirata by Jose de Espronceda-A Review
Dede Korkut-A Review
Kerem and Aslý-A Review
Koroglu-A Review
Satuk Bugra Khan-A Review
Edige-A Review
Saltukname-A Review
Danyþmendname-A Review
Turlu-A Review
Sary Saltukname-A Review
Karacaoolan-A Review.

Jejuri’ by Arun Kolatkar-A Review
‘The Iliad’ by Homer-A Review
‘Theogony’ by Hesiod-A Review
‘Works and Days’ by Hesiod-A Review
‘Argonautica’ by Apollonius of Rhodes-A Review
Epic Cycle Rediscovered-A Review
‘Posthomerica’ by Quintus Smyrnaeus-A Review
‘Thebaid’ by Statius-A Review
‘Achilleid’ by Statius-A Review
“Dionysiaca” by Nonnus-A Review
‘Cyropaedia’ by Xenophon-A Review
“Alexandra” by Lycophron-A Review
“The Aeneid” by Virgil-A Review
“Pharsalia” or “The Civil War” by Lucan-A Review
The Cantos by Ezra Pound-A Review-A Review
“Homerica,” or “Posthomerica” by Q Smyrnaeus-A Review
Nibelungenlied-A Review
“Hildebrandslied”-A Review
‘Gudrunlied’ or ‘Kudrun’-A Review
‘Parzival’ by Wolfram von Eschenbach-A Review
‘Tristan and Isolde’-A Review
“Das Lied von der Glocke” by Friedrich Schiller-A Review
‘Die Nibelungen’ by Friedrich Hebbel- A Review
‘Der Arme Heinrich’ by Hartmann von Aue- A Review
The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari)- A Review
‘The Tale of Genji’ by Lady Murasaki Shikibu- A Review
‘The Nihon Shoki’ (Chronicles of Japan)- A Review
‘The Kojiki: Record of Ancient Matters’- A Review
‘The Kagero Nikki ’by Michitsuna no Haha -A Review
‘The Taiheiki’- A Review
‘The Yamato Monogatari’- A Review
‘The Tokaidochu Hizakurige’ by Jippensha Ikku- A Review
‘The Hogen Monogatari and Heiji Monogatari’- A Review
Journey to the West – A Review
‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ by Luo Guanzhong- A Review
‘Investiture of the Gods’ by Fengshen Yinyi- A Review
‘The Creation of the Gods’ by Fçngshén Bing-A Review
Yue Fei-A Review
The Cattle Raid of Cooley- A Review
Fenian Cycle-A Review
Ulster Cycle-A Review
Ossianic Cycle-A Review.

The Colloquy of the Ancients-A Review
The Voyage of Bran-A Review
The Exile of the Sons of Uisneach-A Review
The Destruction of Troy (Togail Troi)-A Review
Cath Maige Tuired (The Second Battle of Mag Tuired)-A Review
Chanson de Roland’-A Review
‘La Chanson de Geste’-A Review
La Chanson d’Antioche-A Review
La Chanson des Nibelungen’-A Review
Le Roman de Troie by Benoit de Sainte-Maure-A Review
‘Le Roman de Renart’-A Review
Le Lais-A Review
‘Le Roman de la Rose’- A Review
‘La Legende Arthurienne’-A Review
‘La Chanson de Roland à Roncevaux’-A Review
Le Cycle de Guillaume d’Orange – A Review
‘Sundiata Epic’-A Review
‘The Epic of Son-Jara’-A Review
The Epic of Askia Mohammed’-A Review
‘The Epic of Dinga’-A Review
‘The Epic of Lumumba and Nzinga’-A Review
‘The Epic of King Mwanga’- A Review
The Epic of Maghan Kon Fatta – A Review
The Epic of Menelik I-A Review
‘The Epic of Abiku’-A Review
Van den vos Reynaerde (Reynard the Fox)-A Review
Beatrijs (Beatrice) – A Review
‘De Rijmkroniek van Holland’ (The Rhymed Chronicle of Holland)-A Review
Joost van den Vondel’s Works- Reviews
Gerbrand Adriaensz. Bredero’s Works-A Review
De overwintering op Nova Zembla (The Overwintering on Nova Zembla)-A Review
Max Havelaar, or The Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company)-A Review
The Thousand and One Nights-A Review
Antar and Abla-A Review
‘Sirat Antar’-A Review
‘Bani Hilal’-A Review
The Epic of Dhat al-Himma-A Review
The Knight and the Princess (Sirat al-Malik wa’l-Khamira) – A Review
‘Qays and Layla’-A Review
Ramakien (Ramakirti)-A Review
Buthsarana – A Review
‘Kavisilumina’-A Review
Hunuwataye Kathawa – A Review
‘Mayura Sandesaya’-A Review
‘Dalada Siritha’: A Review
‘Ran Rasa’ by King Virabahu II-A Review.

Beowulf-A Review
John Milton’s Paradise Lost-A Review
John Milton’s Paradise Regained-A Review
‘The Rape of the Lock’ A Pope- A Review
Lord Byron’s “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”-A Review
Alfred Tennyson’s “The Idylls of the King”-A Review
Robert Browning‘s “The Ring and the Book’-A Review
Ezra Pound‘s “The Cantos” –A Review
William Carlos Williams’ ‘The Paterson’-A Review
T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’-A Review
Vyasa’s ‘Mahabharata’-A Review
Valmiki’s ‘Ramayana’-A Review
‘Harivamsa’-A Review
Panchatantra’-A Review
‘Katha Upanishad’-A Review
‘Yoga Vasistha’-A Review
‘Bhagavata Purana’-A Review
‘Vikram and the Vampire (Vetala Panchavimshati)’-A Review
‘Raghuvamsh’ by Kalidasa- A Review
‘Shishupala Vadha’ by Magha-A Review
‘Kumarasambhava’ by Kalidasa- A Review
Krittibas Ojha’s Mahabharata-A Review
‘Manasamangal Kavya’ by Bipradas Pipilai- A Review
‘Sri Krishna Kirtana ‘ by Boru Chandidas-A Review
‘Padmavati’ by Malik Muhammad Jayasi-A Review
‘Chandimangal’ by Mukundaram Chakraborty-A Review
“Dharma Mangal” by Kabikankan Mukundaram Chakraborty-A Review
‘The Golden Gate’ by Vikram Seth-A Review
‘The Satanic Verses’ by Salman Rushdie— A Review
The Gita for Children’ by Roopa Pai-A Review
“The Last Song of Dusk” by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi-A Review
‘The Mahabharata: A Modern Rendering’ by Ramesh Menon-A Review
“Ravan and Eddie by Kiran Nagarkar-A Review. 0 0 0.