By:Damon Chance

              What is an Epic Hero?

An epic hero is usually the main protagonist in literary works. An epic hero is from history, a myth, or a legend. He is often somehow connected to a god (or is often even the son of a god, such as Zeus).The epic hero is usually on a quest or voyage, where he faces trials and adversaries that change him in ways that reflect the morals and values of the society from which he came. Some examples of epic heroes are Achilles, Perseus, Hercules, Odysseus, and Beowulf.

                      What is an Epic Poem

An epic is a long, often book-length, narrative in verse form that retells the heroic journey of a single person, or group of persons. Elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions.

Many of the world’s oldest written narratives are in epic form, including the Babylonian Gilgamesh, the SanskritMahâbhârata, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid.


Zeus fell in love with a beautiful Greek woman named Alcmene [Alk-ME-ne]. When Alcmene's husband, Amphitryon, was away, Zeus made her pregnant. This made Hera so angry that she tried to prevent the baby from being born. When Alcmene gave birth to the baby anyway, she named him Herakles. (The Romans pronounced the name "Hercules," and so do we today.) The name Herakles means "glorious gift of Hera" in Greek, and that got Hera angrier still. Then she tried to kill the baby by sending snakes into his crib. But little Hercules was one strong baby, and he strangled the snakes, one in each hand, before they could bite him.


The warrior Achilles is one of the great heroes of Greek mythology. According to legend, Achilles was extraordinarily strong, courageous and loyal, but he had one vulnerability–his “Achilles heel.” Homer’s epic poem The Iliad tells the story of his adventures during the last year of the Trojan War.

                 Examples of Epic Poems

1. The Epic of Gilgamesh

2.The Homeric Poems – The Iliad

3. The Homeric Poems – The Odyssey

4. The Mahabharata


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