Every civilization needs epic poetry to keep the heroes of the past alive. Cultures need someone bigger than life to look up to as a role model. Beowulf was able to defeat Grendel using his two hands. He was beyond the image of an average human, but was not quite a god. An epic hero can also fill the gap between mortals and gods, providing a vision of a world not limited by its weaknesses. These poems or stories can be used as guidelines to solve everyday problems, and can sometimes explain certain phenomenon. Examples such as Gilgamesh and his defeat of Ishtar, gives us strength to reach new heights. Epic heroes are needed in cultures because role models help us understand that life is not limited by conventional restraints, and the ability to solve problems exists.
†††††††††††† Epic Heroes were important figures to humanity, and they have been told in different forms since early Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh was considered an epic hero, and could have been a famous or well-liked king. This inspired people to write about him. People told his story through carved stone, explaining his character with quests and adventures. Second, King Arthur was an epic hero from medieval times. He was a British king, who defended the British from Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. In this period of the Medieval Ages, without other ways to keep and remember stories, minstrels sang long poems about heroes. Later a scribe recorded the accounts, adding stories, which created the great works of remembrance to the person. King Arthurís deeds have been in stories and poems that were passed down through the years. Today, we have heroes such as Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. Both were considered heroes that were always on the forces of good, because Harry Potter killed the evil Lord Voldemort while Luke Skywalker became the Grand Master of the New Jedi Order. Now, instead of writing stories on stone or singing poems, we have books to read and movies to watch. Through the past, there have been several different epic heroes and a variety of means to show them. However, the great deeds and audacious journeys will still be the same over the centuries.
†††††††††††† Traits and patterns of epic heroesí stories are unique by the author who wrote them. First, most heroes from infancy have an unusual boyhood and youth.† For example, Samson slew a lion with his bare hands, and Heracles killed two serpents with his bare hands. Also, most heroes have a tutor and a sacred weapon. Perseus, whose tutors were Hermes and Athena, had special weapons, which included the shield of Athena, the sandals of Hermes, and the sickle of Cronos. Next, all heroes have several tasks, trials, and a journey. Theseusís story demonstrated that his tasks and trials were to complete a series of adventures on his way to Athens and also to slay the Minotaur. His journey involved various places. In the beginning, he had to travel Athens, then to Crete with the Argonauts. Lastly, the saddest part of the heroís life, his death. Most heroes die in a battle or a fight. They usually win but pass on. Beowulf was slain by a dragon, the firedrake. Hubris, or excessive pride, caused the death of Roland, King Arthur, and Cyrano. When confronted with overwhelming odds, Roland refuses to summon help, Cyrano does not seek medical attention, and Arthurís trust for his wife and his friend Lancelot brings the fall of Camelot. A heroís life is long and some of the time difficult, but when they feel that their time of glory has ended, they pass on to a death of reward and acknowledgement.