Encounter with the Sirens as an epic poem is an outstanding work by Alamgir Hashmi. As per its definition, Epic poetry is a lengthy, descriptive poem, which is mostly related to the heroic
actions and incidents that are substantial to the hero’s culture. These epic poems
were so common in the ancient times when there was a tradition of oral storytelling.
Iliad, Faerie Queen, Paradise Lost are the well known and oldest epic poems.
The epic poetry is comprises of a hero, his courageous acts, superhuman qualities, and supernatural elements. It is written in the verse, full of similes, etc.
Literary Analysis of Encounter with the sirens as an epic poem
While observing the elements of an epic poetry, we discover that the poem fulfills some aspects of the genre. Also, at some points, it is not an epic poem. The title of the poem initially informs that it is “An Epic Poem in Miniature”. It is clear in the beginning that, however, it is an epic, but in a smaller
The poem starts where Ulysses, who is a well-known Greek hero, is in a sea voyage. He is coming back from the Trojan War. During that, he comes across a place where the sirens are present. Ulysses is trying to secure himself from the siren’s song that can pierce through anything. This provided action proves to us that the hero is
already in the middle of an action, which makes it a suitable point of an epic poem.
Also, the requirement of having a legendary hero in the poem seems like meeting the criteria.
The presence of ‘siren’ that is a Greek mythological character adheres with the involvement of the supernatural element in the poetry. The adventure takes place while the hero is present at some unusual setting. Certainly, not everyone come across the sirens so commonly during a sea voyage.
Thus, the element of the hero being present in the vast setting can be witnessed.
More to Encounter with the sirens as an epic poem
Analyzing further, the heroic ability of Ulysses where he is able to tie himself to the mast and clogged his ears with the wax to ignore the song of the siren. He has done so as per his strategy of not becoming a victim of the deadly song just like other common passer-by. Again, the siren has decided to lure him with her silence that is more fatal than the song. Ulysses is acting strongly and did not fall in the siren’s trick. It is undoubtedly something very extraordinary and incredible that where sailors became prey to the song of the siren, the Ulysses has passed by it through his courage and daring attitude. This superhuman ability of Ulysses proves to us that he
is an epic hero and ‘Encounter with the Sirens’ is an epic poem. However, a very critical element of the epic poem is that the hero invokes the muse and seeks divine intervention from it. The component of the muse and invocation is missing from Hashmi’s miniature epic.
Long speech in this epic poem
We cannot forgo the fact that epics usually contain long speeches from the protagonists, such as in Paradise Lost, Iliad, etc. In the Encounter with the Sirens as an epic poem, there is no as such long speech by any character that is so unlikely for anything that claims it to be an epic. However, the mention of ‘An Epic Poem in Miniature’ neutralizes this factor that epic poem has to be in long narration.
Epic heroes also demonstrate the ideals like high morals, but again, no such aspect is present in this overall conduct of Ulysses in the poem.
In the overall poem, we can spot that it was written in the objective manner that is another factor of the epic poem.
Conclusion of Encounter with the Sirens as an epic poem
On a conclusive note, where the poem carries the characteristics of an epic poem, like terrific hero, superhuman act, the presence of the supernatural, vast setting and opens from the middle. It also lacks some of the elements like speeches, similes, high moral and most importantly, it was not as lengthy as the traditional epics are.
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