Epic Heroes

Topics: Achilles, Iliad, Homer Pages: 3 (1002 words) Published: September 4, 2008
Question: What connections can you make between content and style of epic tales from different parts of the world?

In the course of the history of literature, numerous epic poems have been written. Today, a number have become well known. Examples of these are Beowulf (an Anglo-Saxon epic poem believed to be the only surviving manuscript from the early 11th century), Iliad (One of the two ancient Greek epic poems written by Homer) and Ramayana (a Sanskrit literature dating back to somewhere around 750-800 BC, believed to be written by Valmiki).

The three protagonists of the poems are Beowulf (of Beowulf), Achilles (of the Iliad) and Rama (from Ramayana). Beowulf is a Geat, Achilles a Greek and Rama an Indian. Despite their origins, they all share significant traits. The protagonists tend to be warriors, thus they’re weapons are ones normal warriors use such as swords, although their weapons may be more special than the average ones. All three characters bear great amounts of strength and/or courage, making them heroes as they are able to accomplish the impossible. This is makes them seem undefeatable, making them the protagonists. However, the flaw that they possess is they still die one way or another.

The antagonists Grendel and his mother (of Beowulf), Hector of Troy (from the Iliad) and Ravana the demon (of Ramayana) also share traits. An example is that, apart from Hector, they aren’t fully human, as they not only use weapons like heroes but they also might even use magic. All the antagonists cause terror to a number of people in one way or another. The virtues are that they tend to be superior against their foes, making them seem superior. However, they do possess flaws which enable them to be slain by the protagonist. Although they oppose each other, antagonists and protagonists seem to also share traits with one another.

Secondary characters tend to be normal people; however they still are special in a different way. Some examples of each of...
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