The "Excellent" Hero Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analysis of the theme of "excellence" in hero myths from around the world.
# 149964 | 1,569 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 16, 2012 in Literature (World) , Literature (Mythology)

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The paper examines Marduk, Gilgamesh, Osiris, Achilles and Odysseus as heroes who must face extraordinary challenges with a multitude of formidable adversaries, yet are allowed to prevail and transcend their flawed mortal state. The paper points out the enduring legacy of the excellent heroes and asserts that in all their success and failures, the role of these heroes serves as a learning tool for the society in which the tale was told.

From the Paper:

"There is a pattern in the theme of excellence that covers a wide plethora of different cultures and their myths. This may be based on the idea that legends are constantly adapted and reworked by proceeding cultures throughout the centuries. It seems that the excellent hero in most cases comes from similar stock. In many cases, the excellent hero is born a rarity--either a god himself or in somehow related to divine lineage. His title is achieved through some feat of strength, normally one that is believed to be unattainable by most mortal men. Yet even the demigods of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian legends have trouble facing such challenges--which shows the desired humility within he excellent hero. He must face the unthinkable--the challenges which no one else will dare face. He normally fights a god or goddess, showing his own above human strength, whether he is part god himself or whether he is a mere mortal such as the Greek Odysseus. The typical pattern has him facing a multitude of formidable adversaries; from evil schemers, unnatural monsters, divine gods and goddesses who aim to gain power and suffer from greed, lust, or anger. Yet, in despite of such adversity, the excellent hero is allowed to prevail--whether it is in life or in death. The essence of the excellent hero is the conquest of all that is bad in both the natural ad human worlds. This represents the hero's ability to transcend his flawed mortal state and set an example for his constituents and future fans throughout the generations."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Eagles. New York. Penguin. 1998.
  • Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology. 3rd ed. Lincolnwood, IL. NTC Publishing. 1999.

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