Gilgamesh and the Odyssey the Epic Heroes Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Epic Heroes - Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey

Throughout the ages, mankind has had many individuals who have been an inspiration for people, throughout their life time. These individuals have portrayed qualities that have been seen as many as the ideal qualities a person must possess in order to become a hero in the eyes of the larger public. In a true definition of the term 'hero', a hero is any person, who is a role model for other people around him, who stands up for the right and just causes against the evil forces while risking his own life in order to ascertain the safety of the public, who does not seek any personal reward and has no personal agenda but chooses to help the people in the society for their rights to justice and peaceful life at all times. Accordingly, a hero has to be someone who works for the greater good of the society without looking after his own personal interests. A hero responds in the need to ensure that the goodness and its aura prevails in the society and that there is no more existence of any evil power in the society that is capable of threatening the goodness, peace, tranquility and progress of a society.

Although the above definition details the qualities of a hero in a more humanized manner, there are many heroes who are considered to be as role models and saviors of the people because they have been known to possess supernatural powers. These supernatural powers can vary from super strength to exemplary bravery and courage to the ability to fly. Also, it is more commonly understood, that when an individual embarks on the path to become a hero, he is in a position of power and authority, such as a king or a ruler, which allows him to act more responsibly towards the common people. The possession of such positions and qualities by an individual who works for the good causes, while also defeating the evil that negatively affects the people in the society, the individual becomes to be known as the savior of the people or in short a 'hero'. The effects of the actions of a hero that make him a role model for the people does not only limit to the generation of the hero only. The exemplary actions and qualities of a hero tend to become a part of the history that allows many generations down the history to get enlightened and learn from the hero's actions. There have been many examples as such in the human history that are considered as role models and ideals for the people.

Comparison with the qualities of an Epic Hero

There are certain qualities that each epic hero is deemed to possess. These include personality traits such as bravery, wisdom, strength, intelligence, skill and above all loyalty, kindness and endurance. Without endurance and perseverance, a hero is unlikely to achieve triumph over evil or to overcome the obstacles in his or her path to salvation (Nagy). Each culture has its own version of epic heroes. The mythical and legendary heroes that stem from the societal influence often have characteristics of the men or women that the society at large admires. For example, heroes in Greek mythology are often strong male warriors with utmost strength and agility. Such heroes are influenced by the highly testosterone-driven culture of the ancient Greek civilization. While, in cultures where women are perceived as heroes, it is because of the wit and cunning possessed by the women present in the society. Hence, each culture has their heroes, whether legendary warriors, powerful sorceresses or mighty immortal gods and goddesses with supernatural powers. All of them are considered heroes because they intend and act to rescue the society in question from evil and distress, in their own way. Therefore, in comparison of the above definition of a hero, the qualities of an epic hero are quite similar to…

Sources Used in Document:


Homer and Samuel Butler. "Book IX: Ulysses declares himself and begins his story - The Cicons, Lotophagi, and Cyclopes." The Odyssey. Wildside Press LLC, 2007. 155-156.

Kovacs, Maureen Gallery. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Stanford, California: Stanford Univerity Press, 1989.

Nagy, Gregory. The Epic Hero: A Companion to Ancient Epic. Washington D.C: Centre for Hellenic Studies, 2006.

Cite This Essay:

"Gilgamesh And The Odyssey The Epic Heroes" (2013, July 07) Retrieved April 9, 2020, from

"Gilgamesh And The Odyssey The Epic Heroes" 07 July 2013. Web.9 April. 2020. <>

"Gilgamesh And The Odyssey The Epic Heroes", 07 July 2013, Accessed.9 April. 2020,