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Greek Epic Hero

In: English and Literature

Submitted By kshithisingh
Words 2029
Pages 9
Kshithi Bhanu Singh
Second English
St. Stephen’s College

What are the constituent attributes of a Greek Epic Hero? Explicate with reference to Odysseus and Achilles.

The definition of an epic hero is very wide and varied. It includes a lot of attributes and criterions, but for a particular hero to reach the epic stature, it isn’t really necessary to fulfill all the demands and to come up to all the standards. In a very conventional sense, an epic hero is supposed to possess these qualities or is supposed to come up to these standards:

1. Is an important figure from history or legend. 2. Is usually favored by Gods or even partially descended from Gods i.e. semi-divine nature. 3. Takes part in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries and returns home with significant transformation. 4. Illustrates traits, performs deeds and exemplifies certain morals that are valued and held dear by the society/ culture from which the hero comes. 5. Usually embodies cultural and religious beliefs of the people. 6. Has no superpowers, but is smart, brave and has fears too; which he must overcome to protect his friends, family and / or nation. 7. Can also be a warrior of some sort who performs extra-ordinary tasks that most find difficult. 8. Is also a polished speaker who can address councils of chieftains or elders with eloquence and confidence.

Literature is replete with examples of epic heroes. Classical Greek literature in particular has produced some of the most famous epic heroes. The epic hero in Greek literature is best defined in the contrasting characters of Achilles and Odysseus, the principal figures in Homer’s grand epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, respectively.

When Achilles is presented to us in the beginning of The Iliad, we see him as callous and stubborn with an almost child like temper, but his eventual…...

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