The Epic Hero: The
Prepare for Notes
1. Take a sheet of notebook paper out.
2. Fold the paper in half vertically (like a
3. Label the left column “NOTES ON
4. Label the right column “MY
A Call to Adventure
“You must go with me to Alderaan.” -Obi-Wan Kenobi
 The hero starts out living an ordinary life.
 He or she is called to go on a quest, often by a
 Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy she must visit the Wizard
of Oz
 Obi-Wan Kenobi asks Luke Skywalker to help destroy the
 Gandalf enlists Frodo’s help to destroy the One Ring.
 The hero might doubt that he or she is capable of
completing a quest, and “refuse the call.”
 However, the mentor encourages the hero or even
gives magical items to help.
The Hero’s Journey
“We’re off to see the Wizard.” -Dorothy
 The hero goes through many trials on his or her
way to achieving the quest.
 “Threshold guardians” will block their way to new
places. The hero must either outsmart or defeat
 Allies join the hero to help.
 The Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion help Dorothy
 Luke and Obi-Wan hire Han Solo and Chewbacca
 The Fellowship of the Ring journey with Frodo
Claiming the Prize
“What have you learned, Dorothy?” -The Tin Man
 The hero defeats the shadow and is able
to finish his or her quest.
 The hero returns back home as a
different person then when the quest
 Sometimes the mentor or the allies leave
the hero, knowing that the quest is
There and Back Again
“There’s no place like home.” -Dorothy
 Others may not recognize the hero when he or she
returns home because the hero has changed.
 Sometimes the hero has to clean up or fix
something that happened to his or her hometown
when the hero was on the quest.
 The hero has help along the way from magical
items, mentors, and allies, but it is ultimately
what’s inside the hero that helps the hero win.
Hero Characteristics
 The hero is introduced in the middle of the story’s
action; previous events will be recounted in flashbacks.
 The hero is not only a warrior and a leader, but also a
polished speaker.
 The hero, often a demi-god, possesses weapons of
great size and power, which are often presents from
the gods.
 Odysseus’ bow
 The hero must undertake a long, perilous journey,
often involving a descent into the Underworld, which
tests his endurance, courage, and craftiness.
Characteristics of
Epic Poetry (Will be tested!)
 Epic poetry often begins with an
“invocation,” which is when the narrator
calls on creative help to tell the story.
 Epic poems often begin “in media res,”
which is Latin for “in the middle of the
action (story).” This means a good part of
the story has already happened and the
narrator begins the poem by catching the
reader up on what’s happened.
Characteristics of
Epic Poetry (Will be tested!)
 The Epic or Homeric Simile is an extended
comparison beginning with "like" or "as"
 The simile is loaded with description, often
holds up the action at a crucial point to produce
suspense, and continues for several lines.
 Epithets are short phrases that refer to the
character’s traits.
 “rosy-fingered Dawn” to describe the sunrise, “swift-footed
Achilles” to describe the qualities of Achilles

The Epic Hero