Claim: In both the novel and epic case, heroism can be attributed to common ideological and semiotic construction, subconsciously tailored to differing ends.
I do not contend that the heroes of epic and novel are synonymous, but instead that they rise from a singular and ubiquitous construction. The embryonic format for all heroism is inherently embedded in the human mind. Realizing that there is great discontinuity between the structure, and indeed the very nature of epic and novel hero; I contend that any such disruption is rooted in alterations of both societal expectation and construction–heroism is universal, its manifestation is not. Epic hero is one of worship, one which embodies societal ideals. The epic hero embodies the power dynamic outlined by Patterson. Epic hero has the power to create, to destroy, to define and to name, powers embodied by Odysseus. “My name is Nobody” (Homer, book 9, line 366); with such a simple lie, incomprehensible power is brought forth. Odysseus has power Patterson endows only to the master–in his desolation of Polyphemus, Odysseus becomes the vengeful hand of the Gods. Epic is the arm of no man, but of Godly intent; of societal ideologies which seek subvertant acolytes. It seems of little coincidence that the novel emerged in the Renaissance–a time defined by heightened levels of free thought, increased propensity of information, and most importantly the printing press set the stage for a challenger to prevailing ideological structure. The high propensity of the artistic mind, as well as emerging opposition to church doctrine ushered in a new age of semiotics, one where subjects seek connection and common identity over idol. Such realignment propagated the development of a new literary form, an individual literary form. Bakhtin observed that “the novel [became] the leading hero in the drama of literary development...precisely because it best of all reflects the tendencies of a new world” (7). It met the needs of...
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