What is the difference between an epic and a mock epic?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A mock epic is defined as a comic narrative poem that parodies the epic by treating a banal or trivial subject in a lofty grand manner. In other words, it treats an every day or unimportant subject in an epic fashion. These mock epics use the same stylistic conventions for epics to describe their mundane focus, inlucding elaborate figures of speech and supernatural involvement. The most famous example in the English language is Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock.

An epic is a long narrative poem that tells the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. Epics are normally a mixture of myths, legend, history and folklore and their tone is normally serious and they use an elevated level of language. The majority of epic heroes undertake quests to achieve something of value to themselves or their society. Famous examples include Beowulf, The Odyssey, The Illiad and The Aeneid.

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