Below are two options for a short essay using 2 of the works you have read in Units 2-4. Choose one of the options and write a 400-600 word paper. Remember to identify the works you have selected and use specific examples from each.
- Read the definition of genre and myth and explore how mythic culture is carefully interwoven within the generic context of the two epic readings assigned in Units 2, 3, and 4: Gilgamesh and Odyssey are required; Ramayana is optional. Because of the oral nature of myths, details may have been lost and inconsistencies may arise when these stories are interwoven – as they often are in epic poems. Select two or more specific examples from the epic narratives and show how the poet shapes the myth using epic conventions. What’s the poet’s agenda? How does the poem reflect on the culture? Since you have already explored the flood myth, choose the concept of the epic hero or his journey or the battles or the role of gods or the concept of women or any other appropriate example to illustrate.
- The journey of the epic hero is pivotal from the narrative as well as mythical standpoint. The cause and consequence of the journey may provide clues to an understanding of a culture’s beliefs, priorities, and values. Compare and contrast the journeys undertaken by Gilgamesh and Odysseus (Rama optional) and show how the journey was a transformative experience for the heroes and also provided valuable cultural insights to the audience (both present and past). By contrast, comment on the main female protagonist in epic, even if she did not embark on a heroic journey in the standard male context; how did her role differ from the hero’s role in the epic?
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