Epic heroes are considered to be one of the most important figures in history and literature, who represent the best human qualities and traits, illustrate proper morals and values, and teach the reader what it means to be a fair, honorable, and respectable person. As a rule, epic heroes symbolize numerous cultural and religious beliefs of a nation. Gilgamesh from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Achilles, and Agamemnon from The Iliad, and Beowulf from the epic Beowulf may serve as the best examples of epic characters, which represent the image of heroin in a proper and clear way.
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The Image of Hero in Literature
The analysis of this very image in literature is interesting and obligatory because it provides us with a chance to learn deeper our history and moral principles according to which our ancestors used to live. Such a choice of heroes is not accidental. Each of these heroes was unique in his own way. For example, The Iliad is based on the quarrel that happened between Agamemnon and Achilles, so that these characters were enemies in the story. However, their different points of view, different purposes, and reasons made them interesting to compare and to learn. The hero Gilgamesh helps to realize how important the issue of morality could be. His numerous quests for fame and immorality and his attitudes to friendship and devotion explain what people should appreciate most of all (Dalley 39). The last hero under consideration is Beowulf, who represents a perfect picture of a courageous person who wanted to gain recognition and fame by means of noble actions. These four epic heroes create a splendid picture of how an image of a hero should look like. Abilities to prove own points of view, to appreciate friendship and external help, to comprehend the outcomes of own actions, and to distinguish moral and immoral principles – these are the main traits the heroes under consideration present.
In order to present a comprehensive analysis of epic poems and the image of a hero, it is necessary to investigate the structures of the works and the authors’ intentions. The purposes of each epic poem are to learn the reader, to explain the idea of morality, and to underline the importance of history. Beowulf touches upon numerous Christian issues (Bazelmans 76), The Iliad concentrates the reader’s attention on wars and betrayal and the necessity of motifs (Louden 5), and The Epic of Gilgamesh gives an opportunity to realize how immorality may influence human comprehension of the world. These works are considered to be a unique chance to plunge into history and take one of the most significant lessons in this life – to believe in the power of the past and its close connection to the present and future.
The analysis of the image of an epic hero should be properly structured in order create clear and informative paragraphs, be devoted to each hero separately in order to be able to compare their traits further, and reliably reference in order to demonstrate that the chosen thoughts and approaches are approved by other more sophisticated writers and historians.
Our history is too important to any person; the history that is presented in literary works is not only educative but also easy to read and analyze. This is why such works like the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, and Beowulf and their major characters are a good start for creating an image of a real hero.
Bazelmans, Jos. By Weapons Made Worthy: Lords, Retainers, and Their Relationship in Beowulf. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1999. Print.
Dalley, Stephanie. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
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Louden, Bruce. The Iliad: Structure, Myth, and Meaning. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2006. Print.