Elements of an Epic

Carson Weigart

Legendary Characters

The epic hero completes strenuous tasks. He is usually protected by a god or God.


In The Odyssey Odysseus is protected and helped by the god Athena many times through out his journey. He takes on many difficult trails such as the cyclops or the muses.

Grand Settings

The setting is usually spread across many different places. Sometimes including the world or the universe.


In The Odyssey Odysseus travels to many different nations including Troy, Sicily, and Ithaca.

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Courageous Actions

The hero completes acts of great valor and difficulty.


Odysseus completes many unusual and challenging task throughout his journey. He Comes upon a man eating cyclops and he has to find a way to escape his cave. Odysseus, using his great wit, blinds the cyclops by getting him drunk and stabbing his eye out. He and his men escape by riding on the bellies of sheep.

Supernatural Forces

Gods, demons, ghost, and otherworldly things involved in the progress of the story.


In The Odyssey many gods are involved in the story. Poseidon curses Odysseus as a result of him killing his son, the cyclops. The goddess Athena helps Odysseus several times by giving him advice and disguising him as different things people.

Formal Writing

Epics are usually have a very formal writing style. They are often detailed and they tend to go into great lengths to describe events or people.


The Odyssey contains several Homeric similes describing events. The Homeric simile, "By heaven! when she vomited, all the sea was like a cauldron seething over intense fire, when the mixture suddenly heaves and rises," is used to describe the sea monster Scylla (Homer 789-801).

The Monomyth

The Departure

Odysseus's first call to adventure was when he went into the Trojan war. He was called to fight and this is what led him to not being able to return to Ithaca for 20 years and it is also the cause of the many trials he faces along the way.

The Initiation

After the Trojan War Odysseus comes upon a giant cyclops that he has to blind to escape from. Being arrogant and hubris Odysseus tells the cyclops his name and about his journey home. The cyclops then curses his in the name of his father, Poseidon, that Odysseus' journey be long and hard.

Supernatural Aid

Odysseus is helped by many gods throughout the story. The goddess Athena helps him by giving him advice and disguising him as beggars and many different things in the story.

Crossing the Threshold

Odysseus leaves from his ordinary world. He starts his journey of returning home to Ithaca. This journey should have been short and easy, instead it took 20 and all of Odysseus' men died.

Road of Trials

Odysseus and his men faced many treacherous trails on their journey home. These include the trials with the cyclops, the Sirens, and the sea monster.

Women as Temptress

The nymph Calypso held Odysseus captive for several years before being told, by Zeus to set him free and let him return on his journey.

The Ultimate Boon

Odysseus finally returns home and is back on the island of Ithaca. This is all that Odysseus longed for the whole quest.

The Magical Flight

When Odysseus returns he finds his house filled with suitors trying to force his wife Penelope into marriage. He has to find a way to kill all the suitors and get his revenge.

Rescue from Without

Odysseus uses his son's help to return to his castle and to take his revenge on the suitors.

Crossing the Return Threshold

He returns into his castle, kills all the suitors, and wins Penelope's love once again. All is returned to normal.

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Works Cited

"Six Elements of the Epic." Six Elements of the Epic. N.p,n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.


"Writeworld." WRITEWORLD. Web. 11 Dec. 2015.


Homer. "The Odyssey." Prentice Hall Literature. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2013. 789-801.