A mock-epic, sometimes known as a mock-heroic, is a type of satire in which the exalted heroic style of the traditional epic poetry is used to a trifling subject. More often than not, it was employed by "ancients" to highlight the unheroic nature of the modern day by giving thinly veiled contemporary occurrences heroic treatment. For example, Edward Moore's 1720 poem The Mock-Heroic Epistle Hitherto Untitled may be read as a satirical attack on George I of England.
Modern equivalents include William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, which combine poems with drawings. These poems, along with those of Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, formed part of an early reaction against the horrors of war. They should not be confused with Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene or Alexander Pope's Homeric Idylls, which are both based on classical models, nor with Thomas Gray's Poems, which although not based on any model, contain elements of the heroic style.
Mock-heroics were influential on later poets including John Milton (Areopagitica) and Oliver Goldsmith (The Deserted Village).
Mock-heroic poetry is defined as using a big and formal style to depict a common or minor subject for which this style is inappropriate. Because the poem's style is mismatched with the content, this creates a comedic impact. Mock-heroic poems often include overused metaphors and similes.
Modern mock-heroic poems tend to be very long (often 20 lines or more). They are written in iambic pentameter (the meter used in classical English poetry) and usually describe some action or event. These poems are generally based on real events but they are treated as fiction so many strange things can happen. For example, a poet might use exaggeration or historical inaccuracy to make a story more interesting or to comment on current affairs. Or he might take liberties with the facts just for fun! There are many modern examples of mock-heroic poetry in literature from Byron's "Don Juan" to Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat."
You will sometimes read about ancient poets writing mock-heroic poems. These are called imitative poems because the writer copies someone else's work rather than creating something new. Most commonly, ancient poets wrote imitative songs to celebrate important people or events. For example, Horace wrote satirical songs about other poets who had done something wrong.
The Mock-Epic, as the name implies, is a literary genre that mocks the Classical epic by using epic formulae such as the invocation of a deity, a formal statement of topic, the division of the work into books and cantos, grandiose speeches, battles, supernatural machinery, and so on to...
The classic example of a mock epic is Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel Cervantes. Don Quixote is a seventeenth-century Spanish aristocrat who reads romances written by "the old writers" and is convinced he is a knight-errant fighting monsters and criminals in order to save princesses who have been kidnapped by giants. So he sets out on horseback across Spain helping people with his sword and enameled buckler. The story reveals itself through conversations between Don Quixote and his friend Sancho Panza as they travel together across Spain.
Mock epics were popular in Europe from the fourteenth century onwards. They often take the form of burlesques or pastiches - parodies or imitations of classical works - which use the epic format but which treat their subjects humorously or ironically. For example, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a mock epic that uses the formula of the traditional epic to parody the conventions of the romance novel.
In addition to being humorous, many mock epics also contain elements of criticism of society at large or certain figures within it.
The Mock Epic has the following characteristics: A a sardonic (mocking) tone. B The serious epic poem's heightened or elevated style and form. C Making fun of a trifling or insignificant issue. D Posing as if about to say something great when actually saying something trivial.
Mock-epics often include one of three types of episodes: A asides, which are short humorous scenes inserted into the text; B anagrams, which are short poems that replace words with others derived from their initial letters; and C anaglyphs, which combine two pictures that when viewed together reveal a hidden image.
Mock epics were popular in Renaissance England. They are also called "laughable" or "merry" poems because they usually included some kind of joke episode or digression. For example, John Skelton's Poetry in English (1470s) includes several asides where he mocks other poets or issues related to court life. One of these asides is entitled "Phyllyp Sparowe's Epigram Against Women Who Write Love Sonnets," and it contains a list of women's names followed by a couplet comparing each woman's pen name to a fruit tree.
An epic is a long narrative poem about a hero's exploits. The term epic comes from the Latin word epicus, which means "word, narrative, or poetry." In modern usage, an "epic" is a large narrative poem in verse describing heroic deeds or events.
Epics are usually based on true stories but are told with a greater emphasis on drama and rhetoric than reality. Because epics often include fantastical elements, such as dragons or magic, they are different from traditional mythology where humans fight monsters or gods.
In addition to being a story about a person or people, epics often deal with broader themes such as love, death, heroism, loyalty, revenge, and justice. Some examples of epics are The Iliad by Homer, Beowulf by Geffrey Chaucer, and The Epic of Epicness by Bobby Moses.
The term "epic" can also be used to describe a work of literature that is itself divided into several sections or "books", each telling a separate story but all related to each other. For example, The Iliad is an epic poem because it is made up of five books which together tell the story of Achilles' battle with Hector for possession of Troy.