#epic iii
the-uncanny-dag · 4 months ago
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Dying inside over this
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asiamarianelli · a year ago
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Heavy and hard is the heart of the king king of iron, king of steel the heart of the king loves everything like the hammer loves the nail
but the heart of a man is a simple one small and soft, flesh and blood and all that it loves is a woman a woman is all that it loves
and Hades is king of the scythe and the sword he covers the world in the color of rust he scrapes the sky and scars the earth and he comes down heavy and hard on us
but even that hardest of hearts unhardened suddenly, when he saw her there Persephone in her mother’s garden sun on her shoulders, wind in her hair
the smell of the flowers she held in her hand and the pollen that fell from her fingertips
and suddenly Hades was only a man with a taste of nectar upon his lips
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where-our-stories-start · 3 months ago
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amatalefay · 22 days ago
Epic III and Poetry
A popular complaint I’ve seen  about the Epic III Broadway changes is that the older version is “more poetic.” As a poet, that bothers me because the Broadway version is poetic, too, just less attention-drawing to its own language. And thinking about what the differences actually are, I realized something:
Concept Album/NYTW Epic III is an epic poem. Broadway Epic III isn’t —it’s a lyric poem. Not just in the sense that it’s lyrics to a song, but as a different genre entirely. And they are both excellent examples of their respective genres.
So, what’s the difference between epic and lyric poetry?
Epic poetry is a long narrative in verse that deals with gods and heroes, often making use of elaborate extended metaphors and evocative epithets to describe characters and events from an observer’s perspective. Ancient Greek examples include the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Lyric poetry is a) shorter, b) focuses on the poet’s own experience and state of mind rather than a narrative, and c) uses personal pronouns and emotional, relational language rather than descriptive epithets. The most famous Ancient Greek example of a lyric poet is Sappho.
Looking at the text of each version of Epic III, we can see these different techniques and priorities in play:
Orpheus uses epithets liberally in all the Epics, NYTW and Broadway, usually to describe Hades, but not always. Epic II is a masterclass in epithets:
King of diamonds, king of spades / Hades was king of a kingdom of dirt / Miners of mines, diggers of graves (Concept/NYTW)
King of silver, king of gold / And everything glittering under the ground / Hades is king of oil and coal / and the riches that flow where those rivers are found (Broadway)
King of mortar, king of bricks / The River Styx is a river of stones (Both)
Concept/NYTW’s Epic III opens with three stanzas of epithet-heavy language (king of iron, king of steel and Hades is king of the scythe and the sword) and uses them to build up an extended metaphor contrasting king and man, hard and soft, hammer and nail. It then goes on to describe in exquisite detail the scene of Hades first seeing and falling in love with Persephone:
But even that hardest of hearts unhardened Suddenly when he saw her there Persephone, in her mother’s garden The sun on her shoulders, the wind in her hair
The smell of the flowers she held in her hand And the pollen that fell from her fingertips And suddenly Hades was only a man With the taste of nectar on his lips
I, too, wish these stanzas had been kept—they’re absolutely beautiful. They are also wholly descriptive and predominantly physical. Hades’ emotions are abstracted and distanced from the scene. Persephone has no interiority whatsoever. It is a sonorous, metaphor-rich, but acutely third-person account of what happened.
This distance makes sense given Orpheus’ role in the NYTW production. He is an observer, a witness, an activist. He is deeply attuned to the injustices of what is happening around him and uses his poetry to share his observations of those injustices with the world. What he lacks is attunement to the emotional needs of other people, especially Eurydice. The triumph of his Epic is piercing commentary, making Hades see the consequences of his actions and just how different he has become from the man who first fell in love with Persephone.
Broadway’s version keeps the epithets limited to the first few lines (king of shadows, king of shades / Hades was king of the underworld). Orpheus doesn’t linger on physical description. The point is not to retell the story, but rather, to reframe it. Because Orpheus drops a bomb at the end of this section. He abandons the third person and introduces an “I”:
I know how it was because he was like me / A man in love with a woman
(Side note: The language in the first section of Broadway Epic III is very plain, but the poetry is still there! I partially blame Patrick Page—not in a bad way!—for interjecting in the middle of the first stanza, because when you put the text in quatrains, some gorgeous slant rhymes and vowel resonance shows up:
King of shadows, king of shades Hades was king of the underworld But he fell in love with a beautiful lady who walked up above in her mother’s green field
He fell in love with Persephone who was gathering flowers in the light of the sun and I know how it was because he was like me A man in love with a woman
I’ll admit some of the lines in isolation are not very good. I don’t like a man in love with a woman, but I’d say it has roughly the same quality as all that he loves is a woman / a woman is all that he loves, and the benefit of only taking up one line instead of two.)
Then come the la la la las, much earlier in Broadway than in NYTW because they have a new significance that completely changes the context of Orpheus’ song. Orpheus asserts “he was like me” and then proceeds to vocalize the exact feeling that Hades had without words. He then addresses Hades directly, in second person—something NYTW only does in the very last stanza—using the language of his own declaration of love. This is important because it shows that Orpheus isn’t just putting himself in Hades’ shoes—he’s putting Hades in his own. The moment of connection, of empathy goes both ways.
And the language of that love? It’s just as rich as the Persephone in her mother’s garden stanza, but the focus is not on exterior detail, but interior:
You didn’t know how and you didn’t know why but you knew that you wanted to take her home You saw her alone there against the sky It was like she was someone you’d always known
And the slant rhymes? The assonance and consonance? *chef’s kiss*
It was like you were holding the world when you held her Like yours were the arms that the whole world was in And there were no words for the way that you felt So you opened your mouth and you started to sing
Orpheus‘ thesis (”he was like me”) adds new context to the last section of the song, whose words are almost identical to the NYTW version. When Broadway Orpheus sings what has become of the heart of that man, he’s talking about himself as well. What would become of his own heart if he were to become like Hades? His moment of insight into Hades fears and weaknesses becomes a confession of his own insecurities:
See how he labors beneath that load afraid to look up and afraid to let go
He’s grown so afraid that he’ll lose what he owns But what he doesn’t know is that what he’s defending is already gone
There’s a prescience to these lyrics when applied to Orpheus. Because this is a predestined tragedy, Orpheus has already lost Eurydice. And while walking out of Hadestown, his greatest fear is that Eurydice won’t be following him—that he’ll lose what he owns. And there’s another parallel: Hades is afraid to look up, while Orpheus is afraid to look back and afraid to keep going.
The final stanza differs only slightly between the two songs:
Where is the man with his hat in his hands Who stands in the garden with nothing to lose? (NYTW)
Where is the man with his arms outstretched To the woman he loves, with nothing to lose? (Broadway)
Again, the NYTW lyrics are descriptive and external, while the Broadway lyrics are emotional and relational. Epic poetry and lyric poetry.
And, while the songs are called “epics,” as befits the son of Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry, the lyric form has an Orpheus connection as well: traditionally, lyric poems were sung to the accompaniment of a lyre.
In conclusion, both Epic IIIs are valid. Neither one is more poetic than the other. They’re just different kinds of poetry.
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hadersgf · 11 months ago
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And Hades and Persephone
They took each other's hands
And brother, you know what they did?
They danced
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lynvaren · a year ago
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Where is the man with his hat in his hands?
Who stands in the garden with nothing to lose, singing: 
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cosmicocelot · 7 months ago
something about... orpheus singing such a simple melody... ‘la/la la la/la la/la’ as the purest expression of love when you can’t make your lips form anything more than that because the feeling is so... much... and the rasp of hades’ voice as he tries to voice it because he is wrecked he is torn he is frayed he still loves.. hits in a special kind of way 
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kyn-lyn-blog · 4 months ago
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You know what I feel...I feel this is a song that would have been written about druig and Makkari back wheb they had songs written and sung and tales told of the eternals. I know druig doesn't represent hades and same for makkari with persephone and the aesthetics are different but I can still it and whenever I hear this song it always resonates with drukkari. And I tried to avoid ever putting Drukkari in that Hades AU box because I feel it happens so much with so many ships (don't get me wrong it's one of my fav AUs I just didn't want to throw another ship into that) but...I don't know I just feel them in the words and I am even considering doing a song fic/breakdown (another thing I swore I'd never do, I usually really don't like them yet here I am) for it because I just see it.
And the song sounds kinda older it's not very modern it has an older feel. And I know the characters are different and that druig is not harsh or cruel (actually neither was hades but rahts a different chat) or some dark overlord and Makkari is not persephone BUT I still feel them in the song and it's words. Am I just grasping atp?
And even the hardest of hearts unhardened, suddenly when he saw her there.
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babo0shka · a month ago
me when—
me when epic III (live original cast recording)—
me when epic III (broadway cast recording)—
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randomguygoesviral · 13 days ago
the original cast recording of epic III is objectively the best version of that song and you cannot debate me on this because im correct.
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comagwyn · 10 months ago
Something I realized while replying to a fellow fan of the musical (and I'm pretty sure this has been done before but eh):
The whole point of Epic III is to remind Hades that he was once just a man (and still is) before he became king of the Underworld. And it is because of his love for Persephone that he became strong and weak at the same time; strong enough to make the world bloom and die with her, but weak enough to worry that she'll leave him once she gets tired of him.
And Epic III is Orpheus' way of saying, “I know how it feels; you're not alone,” because he shares the same anxiety, the same fear because why would Eurydice even look at him when all he is is a nobody?
Epic III is one of the most beautifully written songs in the musical—both from a lyrical, and musical perspective. It is a song about humans and gods, about being human, about being in love renders even gods powerless, and it's a beautiful song. (I'm really overusing beautiful here but I literally can't think of any other word 'cause it's almost 7 AM here and my bilingual brain isn't working well yet)
And Hades, is a very complex but well-delivered character. He is not the villain of this story—he is only doing what he knows best, even if he doesn't know he's hurting those that surround him. 'Cause he'd rather cage Persephone than be left alone. He's a beautiful character and for a god, he's unapologetically human. This is one of Hadestown's themes and it's executed to perfection.
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asthe-crow-flies · 9 months ago
anaïs mitchell did not have to go as hard as she did with epic III but gODDAMN i am so glad she did
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greenorangevioletgrass · 6 months ago
i’ve had this song, this version stuck in my head for days. just.. something the imagery, the melody is just... ughhhh *chefs kiss!
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wegottagetouttahere · a month ago
Maybe I like BOTH versions of Epic III. What are you gonna do about it
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winter2468 · 4 months ago
Thinking about how Hades attempted to rework the Underworld to be more like the upper world in the summer (more light and heat) to please Persphone, but she didn’t like it, and her repeated criticism is that it isn’t natural.
The reason why Hades’s changes to the underworld were so repellant to her is that she’s a nature goddess. The underworld and the winter are supposed to be cold and dark. Changing it to be bright and hot goes against the natural order.
And we know that Persephone liked the way the underworld was before the changes. It’s in the lyrics that she loved ‘the kingdom they shared’. Hades didn’t need to change the underworld at all.
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dishonourablemention · a year ago
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mitchell: epic iii (live) from the off-broadway hadestown / six of crows by leigh bardugo
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keep-ur-head-low · 10 months ago
The funniest joke in the show is Hades hearing his name at the start of Epic III and basically saying “oh shit I’m in this song” after just threatening Orpheus to sing for his life 
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countbezukhov · a year ago
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The more he has, the more he holds The greater the weight of the world on his shoulders
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sunshineonashelf · a year ago
i just think that hades echoing the melody softly under his breath in epic iii after shouting and raging at orpheus for basically the entire musical
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thedupshadove · a year ago
Orpheus and Hades undermine each other by attacking what they both know is their shared weakness.
Orpheus knows he can soften Hades by playing on his love for Persephone and his fear that he's an inadequate husband. And then, when Hades sets the exact terms of exit from the Underworld, remember his thought process. "Nothing makes a man so bold/as a woman's smile and a hand to hold/but all alone his blood runs thin/and doubt comes...doubt comes in" Yes, and you'd know that very well, wouldn't you?
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