Elements of an Epic

By Haley Bassham

The Odyssey

The plot revolves around a Hero of extraordinary ability

The whole Odyssey is about Odysseus' struggles while trying to get home.

Deeds of superhuman power and courage

Odysseus killed over 100 suiters with the help of 4 other people.

Vast Setting

Odysseus travels to the Cyclop Island, the Island of the Lotus-Eaters, to the underworld, Calypso's island, and other several other places.

Involves supernatural help

Athena disguised Odysseus as a beggar so the suitors wouldn't recognize him, she fights alongside Odysseus and Telemachus against the suitors, and she helped him on his journey home.

Sustained elevation of style

"The Odyssey" is an epic story with many epic similes and other epic examples in it.

Poet remains objective and wise

The narrator jumps from telling what is happening with Odysseus to what is happening back home with Penelope, Telemachus, and the suitors.
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Hero's Journey

  • The Call to Adventure
Odysseus is asked to fight in the Trojan War.
  • Refusal of the Call
Odysseus pretends to be insane, but has to stop when the town people tries to get him to run over his son.
  • Supernatural Aid
Athena helps Odysseus during his whole journey.
  • The Crossing of the First Threshold
Odysseus starts on his journey home from Troy.
  • The Meeting with the Goddess
Odysseus lands on Circe’s island. She holds him and his men there.
  • Woman as Temptress
Odysseus is trapped on Calypso’s island, and becomes her lover.
  • Apotheosis
Odysseus sails to Phaeacia. There he is given time to rest before they send him home.
  • The Ultimate Boon
Odysseus reaches Ithaca.
  • Refusal of the Return
Odysseus can not return to his house, because the suitors are staying there trying to win Penelope’s heart.
  • The Magical Flight
Penelope holds a test to see if anyone can string Odysseus’s bow and shoot it through the axe handles. She agrees to marry whoever does so. None of the suitors can, then Odysseus steps up and does it.
  • Rescue from Without
Odysseus, with the help of four other, kills all the suitors.
  • The Crossing of the Return Threshold
Odysseus tries to convince Penelope that he is truly her husband.
  • Master of Two Worlds
Odysseus convinced Penelope that it is him and they are brought happily back together.
  • Freedom to Live
Odysseus is home now with his family. Athena makes peace with the slain suitors families and Odysseus.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Robert. Prentice Hall Literature. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson, 2014. Web.