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Hi, everyone, and welcome to lesson two of Epic Poetry with me, Miss Kuhivchak.

Today, we're going to be looking at plot and at character.

Last lesson, we learned about what Epic poetry was and the kinds of places that it comes from and the kinds of topics you would expect to find.

We're now going to look in a bit more detail at the kinds of events that happen in Epic poems and the kind of characters we expect to find as well.

I hope you're ready to learn, and I hope you enjoy.

In this lesson, you will need three things.

You'll need something to write, with something to write on, and most importantly, your brain.

As usual, the lesson will work if you don't have a pen and paper, but it definitely will not work if you don't have your brain switched on.

If you don't have a pen and paper, pause the slide now and go and get one.

I'm going to take you through today's agenda.

Agenda means the things that we are going to cover.

First, we're going to do a bit of a recap about what Epic poetry is.

Then we're going to discuss what makes an Epic plot, so what makes up the events that happen in an Epic poem.

We're then going to talk about what makes an Epic hero, and these might be some things you already have thought about or heard about from other stories.

And finally, I'm going to show you some examples of Epic poems and get you to spot what makes the Epic plot in them and what makes their hero Epic as well.

Of course, there will be a quiz at the end for you to test your knowledge and review your learning of all the things that we cover today.

The first thing that I'd like you to do this lesson is to remember the definition of what an Epic poem actually was.

What makes an Epic poem different to other kinds of poems? If you need a little prompt, the image on the right hand side might give you a small clue.

Pause the slides and write down what do you think an Epic poem actually is? Now, well done, if you remembered that Epic poems are usually long narrative poems, often composed orally, orally meaning they have spoken or sung poems, rather than being written down in the first instance.

Well done as well if you remembered that Epic primes are usually set in the past, usually so long ago that even the poet can't remember exactly when they happened.

And finally, well done if your definition included the idea that gods and heroes exist at the same time within these Epic narratives.

Often the gods act as characters, as well as the hero being a character.

We're now going to talk about what makes an Epic plot.

Now, a plot is a series of events that happen in a clear order.

Every narrative has a plot, often referred to just as beginning, middle, and end.

Plot also means the direction that the story is going.

If you look at the image on the right hand side, you will see an image of a map.

We often talk about plotting maps, which show the direction of a journey, and actually, journeys are often part of Epics.

There are three components to an Epic plot.

You have setting, you have some kind of struggle, and you often have some kind of change.

The setting means the place that the Epic is taking place in, and that might be not just a particular city, a particular country.

It could even be a particular kind of universe.

Not only that, but as we've already said, they take place a long time ago, in the past.

Along with being in the past, there'll also be some kind of mythical component to this setting.

It will be some kind of supernatural place, and by that we mean a place where it's normal to have gods and monsters and magical creatures that exist alongside human people.

Finally, an Epic setting also includes a society that has a code of honour.

And by that, we mean a set of rules for behaviour that a hero is supposed to follow.

Often the hero's honour involves having a good reputation as a warrior, but also being loyal to your comrades and to your king, and we will see that pop up later on when we discuss particular Epics, particularly the Epic of Beowulf.

The next component is a struggle.

Epic poems usually involve some kind of struggle or challenge for our hero.

Sometimes that might be a mission given by a god.

They might have to win a battle, or they might have to defeat a particular monster.

They might have to rescue somebody, or they might have to steal a particular object.

And finally, they might have to take a long journey to go to a particular place.

Last lesson, we looked at "The Odyssey." The whole of "The Odyssey" is a long journey back to his hometown of Ithaca, and that's a typical Epic component.

The third component of an Epic plot is the idea of some kind of large-scale change.

Now, quite often, that might be the discovery of a new land and the creation of a new kingdom.

That is what happens at the end of the Roman Epic "The Aeneid," where the character of Aeneas is there to found a new kingdom that will become Rome.

There might also be the defeat of a long-term enemy.

For example, this is what happens in the Epic "Beowulf," where the kingdom has been plagued by two monsters for a long time, and Beowulf is the character who makes sure that the kingdom is safe forever.

And finally, there might also be the idea of personal change.

So the hero himself might have to go through some kind of emotional journey in order to become the best version of himself.

Now, having gone through those three components, let's see how much you can remember.

Are the following statements true or false? Write down T or F depending on whether you think they are correct.

Our first statement is that epic poems are usually set in the modern day.

Our second statement is that epic plots always make things really easy for our heroes.

Author's statement is that epics often feature a challenge or a mission.

Number four is that epic plots often feature a strict code of honour.

And finally, number five, you will never see a god or monster in an epic plot, only humans can be characters.

Now well done if you spotted that the first statement was actually false.

Epic poems, as we've already said, are usually set in the past, a long time ago.

The second statement is also false.

Epic plots don't make things really easy for heroes.

There is some kind of struggle.

That might be some kind of mission or something else that they have to overcome.

However, number three was true.

Epics often feature a challenge or a mission.

So if you've got the second one right, you probably got the third one right as well.

Number four was also true.

Epic plots often have a strict code of honour that the hero has to stick to.

And finally, number five was false.

Of course you get gods and monsters in an epic plot because that's part of what makes epic epic.

That'd be quite boring if only humans were existing as characters.

Well done, if you've got those right.

Now, our next topic, having talked about what makes an Epic plot, is what makes an Epic hero.

And I put this image on the screen because I think it's a good example of often the kinds of things we think of when we think of an Epic hero.

We often think of strength.

And now, as you can see, or character in the looks like a strong warrior.

He's holding weapons.

He looks like somebody who'd win in a battle.

Epic heroes often have what we call nobility, and by nobility, we mean partly possibly a noble background.

So they might come from a royal family, but it's also about the way that they behave.

They behave in an honourable fashion.

However, Epic heroes usually also have some kind of flaw in their personality that creates a problem for them within the poem.

And we'll see some examples of this later.

And of course, I should point out that often Epic heroes are male, usually because the societies that create the poems are what we call patriarchal societies, where men are the warriors, rather than women.

However, if you find an Epic poem with a female character, please let me know.

I'd like to read that, 'cause I think that would be a read, too.

So let's talk a bit more about what it means to have a hero who is strong.

Strength actually could be more complicated than just physical skill, though, often, we do expect that our heroes have some kind of physical skill in fighting.

They might be particularly skilled one kind of weapon.

So for example, Odysseus is brilliant at archery.

He's really good with his bow.

But also, we expect that our heroes have mental strength.

And by that, I mean they're not easily put off when they see a challenge.

In fact, they might see that as something that they want to do, rather than something to be afraid of.

They might also have to be avoiding temptation that is put in their way to stop them getting in their mission.

So not only do they have to be physically strong, we expect a kind of psychological strength from an Epic hero, too.

The next thing which we expect about Epic heroes is some kind of nobility.

And on the screen, you'll see a picture of a crown, which is part of the clue as to what we mean by a noble character.

They might have a royal background.

So they might be the son of a king, whether or not they know it at the time.

They might be related to somebody who's important in society.

Even more than being related to a king, they might have divine heritage, and by that, I mean they might be the son of a god or goddess.

This, of course, will give them some kind of special power.

And finally, they'll be somebody who believes in the importance of honourable behaviour.

They'll believe in the values of loyalty to their friends and to their country, and they'll believe in treating others with fairness.

Lastly, and this is a slight problem, heroes often have some kind of flaw, and by flaw, we mean an imperfection or a fault in their personality.

You'll see that I put a picture of a thorn in the image.

Now, that is because often, even if somebody looks good, like a rose, and is beautiful, then might be something a bit difficult beneath the surface, and we often see this when it comes to Epic heroes.

Quite often, an Epic hero might have a temper, so he might be somebody who is easily provoked by others when they challenge him.

They might also have the flaw of curiosity.

Odysseus has the flaw of curiosity when he stops on the island of Polyphemus and wants to visit his cave.

Unfortunately, he soon realises he's come to the home of a monster, but it's too late to turn back.

And you might also have the flaw of pride or boastfulness.

We see this in the character of Beowulf, a character who loves to talk about what he's going to do as much as doing the actual thing.

And of course, once you boasted how good you are about something, it not only annoys other people, but then you have to prove it, even if that was not a wise decision.

Now, having spoken about what makes an Epic hero, let's see which of these statements you can work out as true or false.

The first statement is Epic heroes get everything right all the time.

Our second statement is Epic heroes try to follow a code of honour.

Our third statement is Epic heroes have only physical strength, but not mental strength.

And Epic heroes might have a parent who is a god.

Finally, Epic heroes never travel anywhere.

Pause the video and have a think about which of these statements you think are correct.

Now, that first statement that Epic heroes get everything right all the time was false.

So well done, if you put that down.

Epic heroes, because of their flaw, do sometimes make mistakes.

They're not perfect.

The next statement was that Epic heroes do try to follow a code of honour.

That is true.

However, they still don't get things right all the time.

Third statement.

Well done if you remembered that it's important to have mental strength as well as physical strength for a hero.

They are both equally valid when it comes to Epic plots.

And it's true that Epic heroes might have a parent who is a god.

Finally, it's false that Epic heroes never travel anywhere.

Often their challenge might be to travel somewhere else.

It's very rare to get an Epic poem where the hero stays in one place only, so well done if you put false for that.

Now, I'm going to show you fact files on two Epics.

Based on what we've talked about with plot and with character, I'd like you to think about how these Epics actually conform or match to what we've been discussing.

As I read you these statements, I want you to think about whether these statements prove that these are Epic plots and characters.

"The Odyssey," to start off with, is set in the mythical past of Ancient Greece.

Odysseus angers the god Poseidon by blinding his son, the monster Polyphemus.

He then boasts about his adventures to others.

He journeys to the Underworld, but he comes out alive.

Finally, he returns home and battles to reclaim his kingdom.

Pause the video and think how many typical features of an epic poem can you spot here? Okay.

Well, the first statement that the poem is set in the mythical past of Ancient Greece was a clue that this was an epic.

As we know, epics are often set in the past, so well done if you spotted that.

Secondly, we have the statement that Odysseus battles a monster, and as we know, monsters feature quite a lot in epic poems, too.

The fact that Odysseus boasts about his adventures shows he's flawed, because boasting is a flaw.

So he's not a perfect character, and we've said that epic heroes off and not to perfect.

The fact he journeys from the Underworld I would say counts as a long journey, and also, he comes out alive, which means he must be pretty heroic, since that doesn't happen very often.

When he returns home and battles to save his kingdom, that's skill in battle and also shows his physical strength.

So we can see that "The Odyssey" conforms in lots of ways to our idea of an epic plot with an epic hero.

The next poem we're going to look at, and we will look at it in more detail later, is the Anglo Saxon or Old English epic of "Beowulf." I'm going to read you statements about the poem, and again, I want you to think how does this match what we've already said about plot and hero? "Beowulf" is set in the mythical past of Scandinavia.

In it, King Hrothgar's kingdom is attacked by a monster.

Beowulf, who is a young warrior, wants to defend his king and boasts of his great deeds.

He kills the monster with his bare hands, and he later becomes King of the Danes.

Pause the video and think how many typical features of an epic poem can you spot here? Well, the first one should have been quite similar to the previous example of "The Odyssey." It's again set in a mythical past.

Secondly, we had the feature of a monster, which attacks Hrothgar's kingdom.

This is both the idea of the supernatural and monsters.

However, with Beowulf's character, kind of similar to before, because he boasted of his great deeds, that means he is flawed, he is imperfect, and even though he goes on to do great deeds, we know that this means that he's a flawed character, which must make him a hero.

And the fact that he kills the monster with his bare hands shows his physical strength, which is even superhuman, more than human.

He doesn't even need a weapon to do the job.

And finally, the fact that he becomes King of the Danes means that he's a noble character.

He becomes royal, which again, shows us that he is a hero that follows the conventions of epic as we've seen already.

Next time, we're going to look in a lot more detail at the poem of "Beowulf." And on the side of the screen, what I've shown you is in fact the very first lines written in Old English on the original manuscript.

I'm really excited to talk to you more about how Beowulf is a typical heroic figure, and to talk about his adventures and some of the things he gets up to.

I hope that you enjoyed what we talked about today, and I'm going to quickly recap everything, so you can see how much you've learned.

So to quickly recap all of the lovely learning you've done today, we talked about what Epic was and reminded ourselves that Epics are long poems set in the past.

They often contain gods and heroes.

Then we talked about Epic plot and we talked about how there were three components.

There's usually some kind of challenge or struggle that the Epic hero has to overcome.

There's usually some kind of change that happens, whether that's personal or something to do with maybe founding a new kingdom.

And also the fact that, of course, an Epic setting not only is in the past, but might contain elements of the supernatural, like gods and monsters.

We talked about Epic heroes and the kinds of characters that might be an Epic hero, the fact they're usually men, the fact they might have some kind of flaw, but also strength, as well as the fact that they might come from a noble background or be related to a god.

And finally, we looked at the two examples of "The Odyssey" and "Beowulf" to look at how they matched what we discussed earlier in the lesson.

Finally, I hope you can review all of your learning with the quiz that you'll see at the end.

And all that remains for me to say is thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to seeing you next time.