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Figure of the Hero Essay

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The figure of the hero is something that is an integral part of all religions, mythologies, and literature throughout the world. No matter what, these heroes convey a strong sense of the mentality of humanity. In literature, the figure of the epic and tragic hero is brilliantly depicted specifically in both The Epic of Gilgamesh and Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a way that maintains relevance over time.
According to Reference.com, an epic hero can be described as a “larger than life figure from a history or legend, usually favored by or even partially descended from deities, but aligned more closely with mortal figures in popular portrayals. The hero participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him, gathers allies, and returns home significantly transformed by his journey. The epic hero illustrates traits, performs deeds, and exemplifies certain morals that are valued by the society from which the epic originates. They usually embody cultural and religious beliefs of the people. Many epic heroes are recurring characters in the legends of their native culture. Epic heroes are superhuman in that they are smarter, stronger, and braver than average humans.” By definition, there are certain traits a character must fit to be considered an epic hero. The hero typically has an unusual circumstance of birth, whether this birth is dangerous or they were born into royalty. Usually, a hero will leave their family or homeland and live with others. They will also experience an event, sometimes traumatic, that leads to an adventure or quest. While on this adventure, the hero typically has a special weapon only he can wield, has supernatural help, and must prove himself many times throughout the journey. Another c...


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...e figure of the hero within the guidelines of what a hero should be, while depicting common human experience and psychology. In doing so the authors have created a hero that is universally relatable, consistently throughout time.



Works Cited

"Aristotelian Tragic Hero." PCMAC. Greenville High School. Web. Mar. 2011. .
"Epic Hero." Reference.com. 2011. Web. Mar. 2011. .
"Tragic Hero." Reference.com. 2011. Web. Mar. 2011. . Sandars, N. K. The Epic of Gilgamesh. London: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Shakespeare, William, Barbara A. Mowat, and Paul Werstine. The Tragedy of
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York: Washington Square, 2002. Print.


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