Epic Heroes Essay
Based on the epic adventures of The Iliad by Homer, Gilgamesh from the Mesopotamians, and Beowulf from the Anglo-Saxons, physical strength and leadership are both traits that are valued in epic heroes. Physical strength is vital to the existence and success of an epic hero during these times. Gilgmesh is two-thirds God, Achilles is the mightiest of Greek warriors, and Beowulf is completely invincible to the attacks of his enemies. All these characters use the strength that they were born with to achieve fame and to help save their people from danger. For example, Beowulf’s brute strength is so great that even the nearly invincible Grendel found that, “his mind was flooded with fear” when challenging the hero (44). Despite all odds, these heroes come out on top, and their people love them for it. Battles and glory played a huge part in the opinions of the people, and thereby are a necessity to the epic heroes of this time. Leadership is another vital quality that all of the heroes displayed to get the loyalty of their people. In The Iliad, Achilles leads a crowd of people after killing Hector and proclaiming, “We have brought / magnificent Hector down” (240-241). All these characters gain the confidence of their people by taking initiative and showing that they are worthy of the people’s confidence. Without the qualities of physical strength and leadership, these epic heroes would not have been able to march to victory while gaining the favor and love of their people.
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