Epic Poetry: the Foundation of Literature

Rama, Epic of Gilgamesh, Ramayana

Epic poetry stands alone as the most influential writing of all time (“Short History of English Literature”). No other authors created such exemplary masterpieces which provide cultural perspectives. Society worldwide has been molded significantly through the ages by the epic poets like Homer and Dante, inspiring stories of heroes, gods, and epic wars which have instilled strong morals throughout mankind. Without the sonorous writings, many successors to the epic authors would not have produced their famous works. These epic classics are the roots of the tree of literature. It is important to recognize and appreciate these world-renowned writers who have contributed so much to their country’s culture. In epic poetry, poets like Ovid influenced Shakespeare, so new forms of literature were created, Dante heightened religious believes in the Inferno influencing entire nations, children learned about morality from the Iliad and the Odyssey, and culture was preserved through the writings of the Ramayana (“Lecture on the Odyssey”).

The fact that The Epic of Gilgamesh was written in 2700 B.C. and it is still read today demonstrates that it has withstood the test of time (“Epic of Gilgamesh”). As the oldest epic, it has lasted for 4,500 years and continues to be studied (Carnahan). The tale remains alive due to oral tradition and an ancient king. Because the king had a passion for books, he assembled a top notch library with commendable tales and stories, including thirty five copies of The Epic of Gilgamesh (Applebee). Originating in ancient Mesopotamia, the famous epic can now be read in every single major language (“History of Art: Masterpieces of World Literature- Epic of Gilgamesh”). The Epic of Gilgamesh has become the basis for many successful works in theatre, books, art, musical adaptations, and even video games (“Read”). The Assyrian Aid Society of America has been playing Gilgamesh, the opera, since 2009 (“Assyrian Aid Society”). In 1990, Turn Left at...
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