2018 Student Research Conference:
31st Annual Student Research Conference

Wonder Woman as an Epic Heroine: Assessing the Evolving Biases Regarding Powerful Women through the Greco-Roman Epic Tradition


Azeeza Eagal
Dr. Amy Norgard, Faculty Mentor

This paper observes the influence and innovation of the Greco-Roman classical epic tradition in the recent film Wonder Woman (Warner Home Video, 2017). Citing the parameters of what constitutes an epic film given in Joanna Paul’s Film and the Classical Epic Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2013), I argue that Wonder Woman meets the requirements for an epic film with influences from the Greco-Roman classical epic tradition, but with adjustments for a powerful female lead character. Furthermore, the innovations that the director Patty Jenkins makes as the first woman to direct a big-budget superhero movie about a female heroine, Amazonian Diana, provides evidence of an evolving bias regarding powerful women in contemporary America. I will assess this modern innovation by drawing from the works of male classical authors Virgil, Horace, and Livy to trace the evolution of the characterization of a powerful women from antiquity through Cleopatra, Tanaquil and Tullia Minor.

Keywords: Wonder Woman, Greco-Roman Epic Tradtion, Epic Tradition, Epic , Reception, Classical Literature

Topic(s):Classics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 107-2
Location: VH 1212
Time: 8:15

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