what exactly is an epic?
a story involving a hero, a unique story-line , usually told/presented in poetic form, long narrative, concerns a historical event, hero/group of individuals who are central to a tradition
What are some characteristics of a epic hero?
- "larger than life"
- usually are part "divine" in nature
- the battle/actions they go through usually show their non-human strengths
general information about Epics
Epics use epithets>>A descriptive adjective or phrase used to characterize someone or something.
Epics use catalogs/lists
begin in medias res>> In the middle of things
- Epics use extended/frequent speech>> example: Book of Job
Epics often ends with a divine manifestation
- An Epic's Narrative helps to establish a national identity
Sanskrit Epics ( made up of 2 Epics)
- 1. Ramayana>> attributed to the legendary authors, but reworked by priests and elites
- 2.Mahabharata>>story of civil war-longest epic in existence
How/Why is "Ramayana" and "Book of Job" considered Epics?
long narrative poems > 24000 couplets, 2 line stanzas
involves a heroic figure > Rama > incarnation of "Vishnu" god > the fact that Rama was an incarnation of the Vishnu god lead people to see Rama as a "spiritual hero" because Vishnu was the "creator god"
involves an event>> fight against Ravana, rescues "Sita" (his wife), and regains his kingdom
involves traditions/beliefs > addresses a "goal" that should govern life -- goal is to follow one's dharma
Dharma means, "that which holds"
all good and righteous behavior according to one's role in society
proper human conduct/social duty
What is a woman's dharma?
to be a wife and mother
What are the 4 classes (called "Varnas") in society? (ranked from lowest >highest)
1. Laborer - "Shudras"
2. merchant/farmer - "Vaishyas"
3. warrior/administer - "Kshatriyas"
4. Teachers and Priests - "Brahmins"
what are the "4 stages" of life?
- 1. student
- 2. householder
- 3. retired person>> "forest dweller"(these first 3 stages are considered to be in the "life is good strand" )
- 4. "wandering ascetic"> ( last one, the 4th stage, is considered to be alone in the "life is bad strand")
"act" - all good/bad deeds have results
soul is trapped in an endless cycle of birth and death
conclusion: suffering is caused by one's actions and deeds
this idea of Kharma goes against the Book of Job, because Job's suffering was due to his being tested by God, rather than him behaving badly
Why is "Job" considered an Epic?
involves traditions/beliefs > suffering is not a consequence of deeds, addresses righteousness of God
(even in pain and suffering), and states God is worthy to be praised
(regardless of circumstances in life good or bad)
involves a heroic figure > Job
considered a long narrative poem
General Info about Book of Job
story about a man who questions God's goodness in a world where "good is supposed to triumph over evil"( when faced with numerous trials and times of suffering)
What does Job struggle with?
Job struggles with wondering is God in control?
if he is in control, is God good?
Who are Job's counselors?
1. wife >
she says, " curse God and die" - this advise does him no good
2. Job's friend Eliphaz >
says, " can man be more righteous that God, or purer than who made him?" - not very intelligent advisement...its obvious the answer
3. Jobs friend Bildad >
says, "Just ask the older generation, they will teach you" - not wise, tries to put responsibility on someone who knows more than he does
4. Jobs friend Zophar >
says, "should a speech go un-answered just because it is long? Is someone with "ready lips" always right?"
** none of these first 4 counselors give Job wise counsel
5. Elihu >
tries to tell Job he has sinned
- 6. God > asks Job 64 questions in order to teach him
- - after this, Job praises God and prays for his friends
- - God's questions has to do with "creation"
- - argument presented by God to Job: there are MANY things we humans will never understand, but God does, and he is in control