Why is The Odyssey considered an epic?Could you also give some examples so I know what you are talking about?  Also, what is an epic?

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bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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An epic is a long poem that has several characteristics:

  • a hero or heroes who embody the values of the society
  • usually begins with an invocation to a Muse
  • gods/goddesses who intervene on behalf of the humans
  • a vast setting so the hero can go on adventures to foreign lands
  • long and formal speeches
  • use of epithets

These are most of the main characteristics of an epic. The Odyssey meets these requirements since it includes the hero Odysseus who tries to get home from the Trojan War. In doing so, he finds himself in strange lands and facing horrible enemies, such as Cyclopes and the Sirens. 

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ryanokeefe21 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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An epic is a long and narrative poem on a serious subject. The Odyssey is considered an epic because it is greek mythology and is also dated back in the B.C.


Hope this helped : )

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The only requirement for a work of literature to qualify as an epic is that It should consist of a long narrative poem.Odyssey which consists of 24 section or books of poetry, meets this requirement very well and therefore is fully qualified to be termed an epic.

Beside this Odyssey also possesses may other characteristics which are not essential for an epic but are generally found in most of famous epics of the world. For example, it is a story of adventure and heroics, which has fired the imagination of people and has influence their culture and society.

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