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What Is Mock-Epic Poetry? - Definition, Examples & Characteristics

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  • 0:01 Definition of Mock-Epic Poetry
  • 0:33 Examples
  • 2:09 Characteristics
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Gentry
Explore the definition and characteristics of mock-epic poetry and how the genre is one example of how specific works of literature connect to the whole body (canon) of literature.

Definition of Mock-Epic Poetry

Mock-epic poetry references classical works that use humor in order to make a new point. Because it draws on well-known heroes or literary themes, mock-epic poetry is often able to form observations about contemporary culture, religion, and social issues in a funny, meaningful style.

Mock-epic (also known as a mock-heroic) poetry draws heavily on the technique of satire, which means that it uses irony, exaggeration, and sarcasm to mock its original subject, usually in an undignified and grandiose manner.

Examples

Whether we realize it or not, we actually frequently see examples of satire in our daily lives. In the movie, Shrek, for instance, the ogre Shrek becomes the hero and makes the lovely princess, Fiona, fall in love with him. Ironically, we find out later that Fiona is an ogre at heart herself. The difference between mock-epic poetry and this example though is that Shrek, an animated film, pokes fun at the classical fairy tale, whereas a mock-epic poem would poke fun at a classical piece of literature. Let's take a look at one example from the larger canon:

One famous example is 'The Rape of the Lock' by Alexander Pope and its connection to Homer's The Iliad.

Portrait of Alexander Pope

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