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Epic Hero Essay

  • Submitted by: ugyiadsa20
  • on December 13, 2009
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 1,186 words

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Below is an essay on "Epic Hero" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

An epic hero is a person or character who displays or acts out one or more of the many values of their society.   Two classic examples of epic heroes are Achilles, from the Iliad, and Odysseus, from the Odyssey, both of which are epic poems by Homer.   Both of these two heroes are courageous, intelligent, and loyal, although they display these traits in different ways.   These heroes are very crucial to shaping a readers interpretation of their respective poems, because they are the main characters, and they do this through their actions and morals.
Achilles is mainly characterized by his superhuman strength and great battle skills.   The main reason he has these is because he is not a mere mortal.   His mother, Thetis, is a goddess.   His traits are completely necessary for him to have, and he utilizes them, because he is one of, if not the, best Achaean, or Greek, warriors.   These are both characteristics which are very important to the society which Achilles lived in, because they placed high value on war and fighting.  
Another characteristic of an epic hero that Achilles displays is loyalty.   Achilles rejoins the war for the purpose of avenging the death of Petrocles, his friend.   In doing this, he shows loyalty primarily to his friend.   Achilles is not perfect however.   He is often driven by his ego, and this is very apparent when he abandons the Greek army, solely because he feels he is not appreciated by the Greeks when Agamemnon demands the woman he won, Briseis.   That is an example of where his loyalty is lacking.   Despite being begged by Odysseus and Ajax, Achilles refused to rejoin the war for the sole purpose of helping the Greeks.   It is only until his friend is killed that he sees fit to rejoin the Greek army.   Everything he does is so people will remember his name, he doesn't do these heroic things for his nation, but for himself, that is his only major flaw.   If he had stayed in the war, as opposed to briefly quitting for somewhat childish reasons,...

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