In the middle of the action. Epics often begin in medias res. For example, the Odyssey, which tells the story of the wanderings of the hero Odysseus, begins almost at the end of his wanderings, just before his arrival home. In medias res is a Latin phrase used by the poet Horace; it means “in the middle of things.”
in medias res
in narrative technique, the recommended practice of beginning an epic or other fictional form by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks. The principle is based on the practice of Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad, for example, begins dramatically with the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon during the Trojan War. The Latin poet and critic Horace has pointed out the immediate interest created by this opening in contrast to beginning the story ab ovo ("from the egg")-i.e., from the birth of Achilles
Learn more about in medias res with a free trial on Britannica.com.