Guide to Literary Terms

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What are the uses of "epic"?

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As a literary term, "epic" modifies either "poem" or "hero." When we define a work of literature as an "epic poem," it will meet certain criteria. It is a long narrative poem: so it tells a story and has characters, a plot, and themes. The main character is referred to as the "epic hero"—he is larger-than-life, though not immortal. In one example of an epic poem, the title character...

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