Odysseus is a combination of the self-made, self-assured man and the embodiment of the standards and mores of his culture. He is favored by the gods and respected and admired by the mortals. Even the wrath of Poseidon does not keep him from his homecoming. He is confident that he represents virtue even when a modern audience might not be so sure. He is also a living series of contradictions, a much more complicated character than we would expect to find in the stereotypical epic hero. We can contrast Odysseus, for example, with the great warrior Achilles in The Iliad.
Natty Bumppo, presented at the start of his illustrious career in The Deerslayer, has been described already in the critical introduction as Cooper's adaptation of the European tradition of the epic hero. Although many of Natty Bumppo's habits resemble those of the medieval knights, so popular in the early nineteenth century from the stories of Sir Walter Scott, the code of the American epic hero is peculiar to the time and circumstances. Deerslayer, for example, is not introduced as an intellectual, erudite, or even educated character. Surprisingly, in terms of a character to be imitated and followed, Natty Bumppo has certain defects: he is unable to read; he mistakes chess pieces for pagan idols; and his language is unpolished. Natty, for instance, will frequently use humorous malapropisms: he is unfamiliar, for instance, with Judith's use of the term "buccaneers," and interprets the word according to his own forest vocabulary as "buck-and-near." Cooper, however, never holds his hero up to ridicule; he makes Natty Bumppo, if anything, a little more human and fallible.
Beowulf embodies several traits that make him a textbook epic hero. Some of these traits include his larger-than-life physical strength, his courage in the face of extreme danger, and his loyalty to both his superiors and the men who serve him.
An epic hero is not perfect or immortal, but he is a sort of superhuman. He is larger-than-life in the sense that his qualities exceed those of regular humans. For example, an epic hero will have extraordinary strength. Beowulf displays this best when he fights Grendel and rips his arm from his body. Grendel is an imposing beast who has already easily destroyed a number of men, including warriors who are strong and experienced fighters. Beowulf's feat in killing Grendel perfectly displays how his physical strength sets him apart from others.
Finally, Beowulf is loyal to his superiors and to the men who serve him. Before he goes into a battle or fights any of the monsters he faces, he makes sure his men will be taken care of. He is their lord, and they swear fealty to him. He is responsible for them, and he holds up his end of the bargain. Beowulf is repaid by one of his men, who finishes off the dragon after it has mortally wounded Beowulf himself. His men also honor him after his death, memorializing him as the epic hero he has proven himself to be.
An epic hero has to perform heroic deeds. Beowulf kills Grendel, Grendel's mother, and the dragon, all of which are heroic deeds that no one else was able or willing to take on. The foes that Beowulf fought were all beyond human strength and capabilities and required superhuman abilities to bring down. Beowulf performed these deeds for the good of others, which is another quality of an epic hero. In the end, though, it was the human mortality of Beowulf which brought him down when the poison wound caused by the dragon resulted in Beowulf's death.
An epic hero is, in short, the hero of an epic. An epic is a story, usually a poem, where a character goes on a quest. There are some characteristics that an epic hero often has. You can read about them in my first link. Here are some ways Beowulf is an epic hero.
Beowulf is very persuasive and charismatic. He leads his men and they are honored to follow him. Sometimes the mark of a true epic hero is someone who can lead others and get them to go along with his will, and even follow him into danger.
There is not actually one definitive list of epic hero characteristics. Different sources identify different traits, depending on their own perspective. The list in the previous post is pretty complete--I've seen some shorter lists and some longer ones.
The list in the previous post mentions nobility that is gained through battling a powerful foe as one trait. Some sources instead state that an epic hero is born into nobility, usually by being related to a monarch of some sort.
Another quality often attributed to the epic hero is humility, although there are at least two very famous examples of epic heroes who do not possess this trait. Beowulf can barely open his mouth without boasting of his own prowess and accomplishments. Odysseus also has a prideful streak that sometimes got him into trouble.
The point isn't that a character possess every possible trait of the epic hero. If they are powerful in some way and reflect the values of their culture while battling fearsome beings, then they are probably an epic hero.
Protagonists come in many varieties. Some are relatable and easy to identify with. Others are constantly struggling and easy to sympathize with. An archetypal protagonist is the "Epic Hero", a character with impressive qualities who completes awe-inspiring deeds. This lesson helps students identify and understand the epic hero in literature.
It was the Greeks who first defined the protagonist known as an epic hero. These heroes of a tragedy must evoke in the audience a sense of heroism through legendary, awe-inspiring lore. An epic hero must be a man whose fortune is brought about by his own admired characteristics. Many of the famous Greek Epic Poems, such as The Odyssey and The Iliad, contain these larger-than-life heroes and their deeds. King Arthur, Beowulf, Siegfried, Gilgamesh, and Rama are all examples of epic heroes.
Some students will have prior knowledge and may know the definition of an epic hero. They might also have misconceptions about epic heroes and even confuse them with everyday heroes. This can be clarified after the activator during the teacher review stage.
Teaching the term: Next, ask all students if anyone had prior knowledge and knew what an epic hero is or if anyone has a guess or list of this type of character. If they did, write down on the board what they give for an answer. If no one knows, begin to front-load the term. After giving students the definition, ask them to think of characters from movie, TV, and literature that they think would fall in this category and make a list. Repeat with a think, pair, share and make a list of characters and a list of attributes.
Defining the term: After students have come up with a list of attributes that they believe an epic hero possesses, go over definition and characteristics of a hero. Ask students to fill out and keep track of the attributes that make the protagonist of your work an epic hero by writing in the answers to Elements of an Epic Hero Template.
After students have finished reading the novel/play, reinforce this lesson by asking them to complete their storyboard that shows each attribute using a scene and quote from the text. This lesson extension coupled with a slide show presentation will help students master the concept of the epic hero.
The epic poem Beowulf is one of the oldest surviving pieces of literature in the English language and its protagonist is an example of a traditional epic hero: he is relentlessly strong, brave, and just. The poem tells the story of Beowulf's bravery in battle against a monster named Grendel, who threatens to destroy the Danes. Later, Beowulf also risks his life to slay Grendel's mother, as well as a fire-breathing dragon. He sustains a fatal injury while fighting the dragon, but doesn't die until he has claimed victory and ensured the people's safety. The story closely follows Beowulf and his strength in battle, only mentioning others as necessary to better tell Beowulf's story, so there is no doubt Beowulf is the protagonist.
Hero sheet: Is your hero sheet looking worn and tattered? Is it covered in smudges and scrawls, making it impossible to keep track of your epic items and vital potions? Well, now you can download and print off as many copies as you need. Adventuring just got easier. Genius!
Team battle rules: Occasionally some monsters are just too powerful to overcome, even for your hero. To stand a chance of defeating these epic foes you will need to team up with a second hero. Combine your powers and abilities to triumph - then that legendary loot will be yours for the taking!
Hero builder (Legion of Shadow): Plan your builds, choose your items and power-up those special abilities with the Legion of Shadow hero builder. Filched from the vaults of the Inquisition, this indispensable guide provides all the vital data you need to craft the perfect legendary heroes. Oh yes, it's time to feel epic!
Legion of Shadow (default hero): A hooded figure, shrouded in mystery, cloaked by the very shadows that perform his dark bidding. Call on the demonic powers of the Nevarin to aid you in your team battles against epic foes! (This is a default hero for use in The Heart of Fire.)
The epic hero is somewhat of a legend. He represents the best of a culture, and therefore becomes larger than any one person. Whether the culture is noted for its self-sacrifice, its humility or its strength, your epic hero will embody that quality.
An epic hero is someone who posses brave and noble traits within a story. Epic heroes are normally characters from ancient stories and are almost always the main character. With that being said, the main character in Beowulf is the perfect example. Beowulf is a warrior and prince who possesses certain traits that make him a hero to Anglo-Saxons and to readers that study his story today. According to an article by Rebecca Ray, there are seven main characteristics that make an epic hero. Noble birth, superhuman capabilities, vast traveler, unmatched warrior cultural legend, humility, battles supernatural foes are all traits or carried out actions by epic heroes. The main characteristics shown in the poem are his superhuman capabilities, Beowulf gives blatant examples of Beowulf having superhuman abilities, being a vast traveler, and battling supernatural foes which makes him an epic hero. 2b1af7f3a8