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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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  • Q:

    What is a list of epic heroes?

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    Epic heroes in literature include Achilles, Aeneas, Arjuna, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Grettir, Odysseus, Roland and Rostam. An epic hero is the central character in an epic poem, which is a book-length narrative that chronicles the adventures of noble characters during events important to a culture or nation.

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  • Q:

    What are the five characteristics of an epic?

    A:

    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:

    What is the "Epic of Gilgamesh"?

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    “The Epic of Gilgamesh” is an ancient story about a Sumerian king who lived in 2500 BCE Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh starts out as a corrupt king, but he learns how to become good over the course of the story.

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  • Q:

    What is an epic?

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    An epic is traditionally a long narrative poem that tells the story of a hero. Also called heroic poems, epic poems stretch back to the story "Gilgamesh" from Mesopotamia. Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" are the two earliest complete epic poems.

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