Creation of an epic – 21

But despite outlines and timetables, the epic developed its own life.  For example, new characters whom I had not anticipated suddenly appeared.  In the siege of a mountain fortress, a character emerged in the process—as the fortress was in the throes of being destroyed, Odysseus’ son Telemachus discovered a girl fiercely holding her own against three of his soldiers.  He sent them away and, when she was too exhausted to continue fighting, captured her.  Pelagia was her name; she was the daughter of the chieftain, who had brought her up as if she were a son.  Her capture had a profound effect on the rest of the story, for she became a major figure.  To a lesser extent, the same applied to Amunet, a Phaeacian slave of Helen of Troy.

As a result, the complex outline of the work continually evolved, with four major changes made to the epic within two years.

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