Epic Examples


An epic is a long, narrative poem written about a hero and the hero's feats of bravery. The word "epic" is from the ancient Greek for "poetic story." In epics, the hero represents the values of a culture, and typically, the fate of the group is in the hero's hands. Epic heroes are often helped by supernatural powers or forces.

Examples of Epic:

The Illiad is an Epic poem by Homer, and it describes the feats of bravery by several Greek and Trojan heroes during the Trojan war. In the Illiad, we learn of Paris, who stole Helen of Troy, and then the great battle that ensued between the Trojans and the Greeks.

The Odyssey is also an epic by Homer, and it details the journey of Odysseus as he attempts to return home to Greece after the Trojan War. Odysseus encounters many dangers on his voyage back to Greece.

Gilgamesh is an Assyrian epic (perhaps the oldest example) about a young Assyrian king who is sent on a quest by the gods.

Beowulf is another example of epic poetry, and is considered the national epic for the British. Beowulf must protect his home from the monster Grendel.

Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen is another example of British epic, which is full of allegorical comparisons and connections between Queen Elizabeth I and King Arthur.

Related Links:
Literary Terms Examples