What Are the Characteristics of an Epic Hero?

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.

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.