Honors English 9
Epic Hero Analysis
What does it take to be an epic hero? To be an epic hero you are required to have five specific qualities. These consist of being human-like, being a confident and courageous solider, nobility, and being in a poem containing supernatural beings that has setting is vast in scope. In the poem the Odyssey, the main character fits the criteria. Odysseus is an epic hero.
An important trait to being an epic hero is that the character is involved in a poem complicated by supernatural beings. To sail home in book 12, Odysseus has to navigate through the straits between two monsters, Scylla and Charybdis. As he is coming up on Scylla, he describes her:
And there are twelve- are like great tentacles,
unjointed, and upon her serpent necks
are borne six heads like nightmares of ferocity,
with triple serried rows of fangs and deep
gullets of black death. (12. 46-51)
These lines prove that the creature Odysseus is facing is not a human being. It shows that Scylla has 12 tentacles, six heads, and three rows of teeth. No human would have any these characteristics.
Not only does an epic hero have to be involved in a poem with supernatural characters, but a poem with a setting vast in scope that involves more than one nation. Odysseus tells the Phaeacians the tale of his wanderings in the beginning of book nine:
My home is on the peaked sea-mark of Ithica
under Mount Neion’s wind-blown robe of leaves,
in sight of other islands- Dulichium,
same, wooded Zacynthus- Ithica
being most lofty in that costal sea,
and northwest, while the rest lie east and south. (9. 10-15) Odysseus explains that he is from Ithica. He also explains that there are other nations around him. They are different than Ithica; like being “wooded” or “lofty.” This proves that he is part of a setting that includes a setting vast in scope.
Another important trait is that the character has to be of noble birth, high...
Cited: Homer. “The Odyssey.” The Language of Literature. Eds. Arthur N. Applebee, et.al.
Evanston, IL: McDougal Little, 2002. 894-937. Print.
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