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Since Milton is often discussed in the context of Renaissance literature, I'll quote the definition of "epic" from The Renaissance (edited by Marion Wynne-Davies, Bloomsbury Guides to English Literature, Bloomsbury, 1992): A narrative of heroic actions, often with a principal hero, usually mythical in its content, offering inspiration and ...


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Terry Eagleton's book Literary Theory: An Introduction (second edition, 1996) offers the following explanation (emphasis added): The literary work continually enriches and transforms mere dictionary meaning, generating new significances by the clash and condensation of its various 'levels'. And since any two words whatsoever may be juxtaposed on the basis ...


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I'm not certain if it's exactly what you're looking for, but the TV Tropes site, which attempts to catalog tropes in various forms of media, calls this Then Let Me Be Evil. Sometimes the supposed "forces of good" in a story treat an "evil" character badly enough, for long enough, that the "evil" character just gives up trying ...


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