Epic Hero Essay

Moral Courage EMMA WALSKY PRE-AP CHALLENGE ENGLISH 9 MRS. PEARSON 2 MARCH 2013 “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. ” (Mark Twain) Courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Aragorn, from The Lord of the Rings, Odysseus from The Iliad and The Odyssey, and Katniss from The Hunger Games all demonstrate jarring courage throughout their journey to heroism.

As Aragorn leads the Fellowship, they come across many obstacles and interferences. He is required to battle off Urak-hai, Orcs, and Nazgul and protect his comrades, all while continuing his quest to Mount Doom. Aragorn is a very loyal and intrepid leader whom is brought to heroism through his magnificent courage. Odysseus makes a very long journey in order to return home to Ithaca. He is forced to make tremendous sacrifices, survive the wrath of Skylla and Kharybdis, and take the form of an intelligent beggar.

Odysseus is brought to his heroic means through his gallant courage and distinctive endurance. Katniss battles for days in order to win victory for her district. She protects fellow members, cunningly kills off enemies, and endures major physical and intellectual damage. Katniss’ stunning dedication and over powering courage lead her to great heroism. Heroes of epic orchestration, such as Aragorn from The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R.

Tolkien, Odysseus from The Iliad and The Odyssey, by Homer, and Katniss from The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, establish themselves as superior epic heroes through their intelligent utilization of the twenty-five epic hero steps, along with their astounding courage, bravery, and endurance which ultimately transforms them into three epic heroes that will never be forgotten. As an epic hero the first hero journey step, The Call to Adventure, acts as one of most important steps, as it begins ones strenuous expedition towards victory and triumph.

Odysseus, The Great Glory of the Achaians, was under oath to protect the marriage of Helen and Menelaus. After Helen was taken by Paris to the city of Troy, the Greeks demanded war upon the Trojans. Odysseus was asked by King Agamemnon and King Menelaus to endure war and bring his fleet of ships and soldiers. This marked the start of Odysseus’ lengthy journey to capture Helen, and defeat Troy. Odysseus proudly led the Walsky 2 Cephallenians, with twelve ships, who were settled in Ithaca, Neriton, Crocyleia, Aigilips, Zacynthos, and Samos.

He was forced to leave his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telelmachus, for what soon became 20 years. Odysseus’ tremendous sacrifice to his country and his family along with his outstanding courage to bring home victory prove his title of an epic hero. Katniss, The Girl Who Was on Fire, begins her journey in the square of District 12. As the reaping begins, Katniss separates from her sister, Primrose, and waits for Effie Trinket to announce which two children of the Seam will act as tribute. Effie reaches her hand deep into the ball and pulls out a slip of paper.

As she crosses back to the podium, she smoothes the slip of paper and reads out the name in a clear voice, Primrose Everdeen. As a “strangled cry comes out of her throat and her muscles begin to move again,” Katniss screams out “Prim! ” (Collins 22). Katniss makes way for the stage and pulls Prim behind her with one sweep of her arm as she gasps “I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute! ” (Collins 22). Katniss protects her sister from the dangers of the battle as she unexpectedly volunteers to take her place as tribute. With this, she displays shocking courage and wholesome bravery.

Katniss’ great deed is one of many that prove she is a respectable epic hero. Katniss and Odysseus both embark on hearty journeys that force them to make important sacrifices, portray a leader figure, and act courageous in battle, which ultimately prove themselves as epic heroes. Each epic hero heftily utilizes the third hero journey step, The Wise and Helpful Guide and the Magic Tailsman, to assist and guide them in their path to success and glory. Aragorn, The Great Strider, along with the rest of the Fellowship, is led from the shire to Mount Doom by Gandalf the Grey, later Gandalf the White.

Gandalf is a wizard, and is also known as the head of the Istari after the fall of Saruman. Gandalf leads and protects the Fellowship through Brandywine, The Old Forest, Chetwood, Bree, Weathertop, Trollshaws, and Rivendell until the final reach of Mount Doom. Aragorn is loyal to Walsky 3 Gandalf’s decisions and respects his strategies and tactics. He allows Gandalf to lead the Fellowship and trusts his knowledge and intelligence. Aragorn’s ability to respect, along with his distinctive loyalty and dedication towards others distinguishes him as an epic hero.

Katniss is mentored by Haymitch Abernathy, victor of the 50th Hunger Games, and won for District 12 at the age of 16. Haymitch first appears to Katniss as drunk and staggering as he dives off the stage at the reaping, and once again as he vomits on the expensive floor of the train headed to the Capitol. After a small fight between the two and Peeta, Haymitch begins to formulate a plan as he is interested in ones who can put up a fight. He tells them to train and learn new things, to avoid practicing skills they excel in. Haymitch successfully trains Katniss, as she comes out with a very high training score.

Katniss respects Haymitch, although she is aware of his drinking problem, and obeys his rules and consequences. Katniss’ capability to learn and regard others methods prove her as a true epic hero. Aragorn and Katniss are capable of respecting others and distinguishing loyalty towards their mentors, ultimately giving them the title of epic hero. An epic hero would be nowhere without the sixth hero journey step, Hero Partners, to lead, guide, and build each other up throughout the course of their journey. To Aragorn, the members of the Fellowship act as his hero partners.

Frodo Baggins, Wise by Experience, Samwise Gamgee, The Salt of the Earth, Merry Brandybuck, Meriadoc the Magnificent, Pippin Took, The Hunchback, Legolas, The Green Leaf, Gimli, The Fire, Boromir, The War Jewel, Faramir, The Jeweled Hunter, and Gandalf, The Elf of the Staff, are all comrades of Aragorn. Each member of the Fellowship has a different type of relationship with Aragorn, whether it is family oriented or merely acquaintances. Aragorn utilizes the skills and abilities of each individual Fellowship member to bring them to victory and triumph.

His healthy relationship with each Fellowship member allows them to relate to each other and create a Walsky 4 stronger bond, which is very important in the ultimate win. Aragorn’s healthy bonds and strong relationship with his hero partners differentiates him as an epic hero. One of Odysseus’ hero partners is Diomedes, King of Argos. Diomedes is asked by Nestor to go on a night raid to the Trojan camp to kill guards and destroy their supplies. Diomedes is “willing to visit the enemy camp. But if one more could go with, that means more courage and more comfort” (The Iliad. 10. 119).

Agamemnon orders Diomedes to choose a comrade, anyone he likes, as he knows the force of two will be stronger than one. Diomedes “could not think of anyone but Odysseus, the best man of all, ready heart and high temper in every enterprise” (The Iliad. 10. 120). Diomedes, along with many other Achaians, trusts and respects Odysseus as a fighter and as a genuine and loyal man. Athena, the Grey Eyed Goddess, is also a hero partner of Odysseus. As Odysseus enters the Phaiakians city, Athena “poured a sea fog around him as he went” so “that no jeering sailor should halt the man or challenge him for his luck” (The Odyssey. . 111). She cares about Odysseus’ safety and does everything she can to get him out of harm’s way. Athena knows Odysseus is a caring, genuine man whom deserves protection from danger. Odysseus’ bold relationships with his army and the gods and goddesses, and his strong bonds with generosity associate with the necessary deeds of an epic hero. The intelligent and genuine utilizations of hero partners by Aragorn and Odysseus prove their title as epic hero. The seventeenth hero journey step, The Hero’s Return, is one of the most important steps because it marks the hero’s victorious journey home.

Odysseus had a very long expedition back to his home land of Ithaca. Odysseus and his men sail to the island of Cicones where they slaughter soldiers and kill livestock. After leaving Cicones, they sail to the Island of the Lotus Eaters, where many of his men eat the lotus plant and are intrigued to stay. They then sail to the Island of the Cyclopes and are trapped in Polyphemus’ cave. They brutally drive a pole into his eye ball and escape by hanging under Walsky 5 the sheep he lets out to graze.

After leaving the Cyclopes Island, Odysseus and his men sail to Aeolia, where he receives a gift of stormy winds to return home to Ithaca. The men open the bag and are directed to Aeaea, where they are given food and drinks from Circe. They sail to the Land of the Dead, where Teiresias tells them how to fend of the Sirens, Scylla, and Kharybdis. They sail through sirens but 6 of his men are taken by Skylla. As they reach Lord Helios’ island, Odysseus notifies his men not to slaughter and eat the cattle. They do so anyway and they are killed, leaving Odysseus alone. After many days he washes up upon Ogygia, Calypso’s island. He is oused there for seven years, and then lands on the island of Phaeacia, where he is the guest of honor at a banquet in the Phaeacian King’s palace. The king orders his men to give Odysseus a ship and then he sails off to home. He safely arrives in Ithaca, and has completed his journey home. Odysseus has many difficult encounters, near death experiences, and challenging tasks he must complete in order to return home. His outstanding level of endurance, strength and perseverance allows him to complete this miraculous journey and hold the title of en epic hero. Katniss endures many physically harmful situations in her quest to victory.

Katniss protects fellow district members, hunts for food, kills off enemies, and builds shelters. As Claudis reinforms Katniss and Peeta that “the earlier revision has been revoked. Closer examination of the rulebook has disclosed that only one winner may be allowed,” she strings her bow and points the arrow right towards Peeta’s heart (Collins 342). As Peeta drops his knife, Katniss lowers her bow and steps back with shame. The two decide to, on the count of three, feed themselves a handful of poisonous berries so that neither of them would feel the pain of killing the other.

Just as they lift their hands to their lips Claudis yells for them to stop and is “pleased to present the victors of the 74th Hunger Games” (Collins 345). A hovercraft materializes overhead and two ladders drop for Katniss and Peeta. As she places a foot on the first rung Walsky 6 of the ladder, she is home. As she steps aboard the plane safety and security fill the air. Katniss endured very harsh conditions, poor consistency, and emotional swings while in battle. Her astounding dedication and devotion for the victory of her district, led her home with triumph.

Odysseus and Katniss return home through their astonishing endurance, dedication and courage, ultimately proving themselves as epic heroes. The twenty fifth hero journey step, Final Victory, is the most important as it labels the victory and win of a strenuous expedition, completed by an epic hero. Aragorn leads the Fellowship to triumph through his excellent leadership skills, combat abilities, and intelligent methods. The Battle of the Hornburg began Aragorn’s final victory. He revealed himself to Sauron as the heir of Isildur, in order to distract Sauron’s attention from Frodo, who was approaching Mordor.

Aragorn defended the city with the Dead Men of Dunharrow, who owed allegiance to the King of Gondor. They defeated Saurons allies, and sailed to Minas Tirith. They arrived at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and with the help of the southern forces the armies of Gondor and Rohan rallied and defeated Sauron’s army. Aragorn then led his armies to the Gates of Mordor, to distract Sauron. Sauron attacked with overwhelming force but at that moment the Ring was destroyed by Frodo and Sauron and his forces were defeated. Aragorn was crowned King of Elessar and as the heir of Isildur, bore the shards of Narsil.

He demands “this day doesn’t belong to one man but to all” and vows to “rebuild this world that they may share in the days of peace” (LOTR:RK). He is loyal to his country and even after acquiring glory and fame through his crown, he still believes the most important thing he can do as King is distinguish the world with peace and tolerance. As Aragorn is walking out of his coronation with his wife, Arwen, he encounters the hobbits as they bow towards his glory. Aragorn claims they “bow to no one” as he, along with the rest of the crowd, bow towards their tremendous accomplishment (LOTR:RK).

Aragorn beholds genuine loyalty and Walsky 7 respect towards his fellow men and acts as a great role model to future epic heroes. His wholesome courage and bold leadership led the Fellowship to a final victory and prove he is worthy of being an epic hero. Odysseus battles many obstacles in order to share his identity with his family. As Odysseus arrives on Ithaca Athena covers him in a mist which allows him to reach his home without being harmed. Odysseus reveals himself to Telemachus, although it takes some time as he appears god-like.

Then Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar and ventures to his home with Eumaeus. A fight broke out between Odysseus and Antinoos, a troublesome suitor, and he was summoned by Penelope as she was perceptive about the “beggar. ” He tells her all he knows about Odysseus’ whereabouts and is then sent away. As he is receiving a cleanse from Eur’ykleia, the nurse, she notices his scar directly above his knee from hunting wild boar. Odysseus grabs her throat as he braces her up against the wall and informs her he will kill her if she tells others his true identity.

Penelope believes Odysseus is not returning and decides to have a bow and arrow contest, to see which suitor possesses the skills of Odysseus. One must string a bow and shoot the arrow through a line of twelve axes. None of the suitors complete the task, so Odysseus proposes that he try and Penelope insists that he be given a chance. Odysseus swiftly completes the task, and strings a second arrow through the throat of Antinoos. He reveals himself as Odysseus, and the suitors then realize they have been locked in the room by Eumaeas and Philoetius.

A raging battle begins and within no time all of the suitors are killed. Penelope, who slept through the entire fight, was called down to the scene. She didn’t believe it was Odysseus, and thought a god was playing a trick on her. She then orders Eur’ykleia to move her bridal bed and Odysseus immediately flares up. He explains that the bed is immovable, how it is built from the trunk of an olive tree around which the house had been constructed. Hearing him recount these details, she knows that this man Walsky 8 must be her husband.

He is reunited with his wife and his son, and becomes part of a family once again. Odysseus cleansed his home with the blood of the suitors and their families were pacified by Athena. After twenty long years, he is finally home. Odysseus’ unimaginable perseverance and outstanding courage are what lead him home to a final victory and prove that he is an epic hero. Aragorn and Odysseus both utilize their withstanding endurance and bravery to complete their final victory and return “home. ” An epic hero is a brave, noble and courageous character, whom is admired for their great achievements.

Aragorn, Odysseus and Katniss are all classified as epic heroes through their outstanding courage throughout their journey to heroism. Heroes of epic orchestration, such as Aragorn from The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, Odysseus from The Iliad and The Odyssey, by Homer, and Katniss from The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, establish themselves as superior epic heroes through their intelligent utilization of the twenty-five epic hero steps, along with their astounding courage, bravery, and endurance which ultimately transforms them into three epic heroes that will never be forgotten.

Aragorn, Odysseus and Katniss will forever be remembered as stunning epic heroes. One’s moral courage determines one’s future. Walsky 9 Work Cited Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press, 2008. Homer. The Iliad. Trans. W. H. D. Rouse. New York: NAL Penguin Inc. , 1938. Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1998 Tolkein, J. R. R. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Dir. Peter Jackson. New Line Cinema, 2001, 2002, 2003. Twain, Mark. The Quote Garden, 1998. http://www. quotegarden. com/courage. html

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