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What are the characteristics of an epic hero?

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Quick Answer

Epic heroes are characters that appear in epic poems, such as the ancient texts "The Epic of Gilgamesh" or "Beowulf;" the heroes of these stories are typically divine or otherwise superhuman and have the ability to succeed in carrying out seemingly impossible tasks at which mere mortals have repeatedly failed. If the epic hero does not have divine qualities, she or, most typically, he, is generally under the protection or good favor of a divine entity, such as a God or Goddess. Examples of famous epic heroes include Odysseus in "The Odyssey," Achilles in "The Iliad" and King Arthur.

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Full Answer

Although most famous examples of epic heroes come from ancient or very old literature such as classical Greek or Roman poetry, the Bible or "Dante's Inferno," some examples of a hero with qualities similar to that of an epic hero can be found in modern and contemporary media as well. For example, James Bond can be argued to be an epic hero; this character has the ability to succeed in carrying out missions at which others have failed or would fail if they tried. Epic heroes are typically engaged in some sort of violent or physical struggle that requires them to show not only their physical prowess but their ability to persevere in the face of adversity.

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Related Questions

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    What are the characteristics of a Byronic hero?

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    The Byronic hero is characterized as being arrogant, violent, reckless, seductive, traumatized and self-serving. Developed by 19th-century poet Lord Byron, this type of character rejects social norms and exists as a form of antihero, or a protagonist lacking conventional heroic qualities.

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  • Q:

    What is the moral of "The Epic of Gilgamesh"?

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    The Epic of Gilgamesh has several moral themes, but the main theme is that love is a motivating force. Other moral themes in this epic are the inevitability of death and the danger of dealing with the gods.

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    What are the five characteristics of an epic?

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    The five characteristics of an epic are the inclusion of: supernatural forces interacting with humans; acts of courage or valor; characters who have some type of national importance; a tone and voice that make everything sound important, even if it's not; and a setting that is regional, national or global in nature. An example of an epic would be the "Iliad," the "Odyssey," the "Aeneid" and "Paradise Lost."

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  • Q:

    How do you tell the story of Gilgamesh to kids?

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    Focusing on the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu and the journey that Gilgamesh takes to find the secret to eternal life is the best way to adapt their story for children. This removes a great deal of the violence and rape from this ancient Mesopotamian epic.

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