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What is an epic hero? I’m confused about my essay topic… Help!?

My teacher asked me to:"Consider the idea of redefining the epic hero in "Paradise Lost". You need to take what you take to be the conventional or already established model of the epic hero, so that you reader can see what is different about the new model(s) you find in the texts you are examining. Is Satan the hero of the poem? If so, what does it mean for a hero to be a fallen or tragic hero?"I'm not clear on what exactly she wants me to do here... Is she asking if Satan from Paradise lost is an epic hero... And she also asks if Satan is the tragic or fallen hero, but aren't epic heros and tragic heroes the same thing?

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2 Responses so far.

  1. kho says:

    An epic hero is usually more along the lines of Hercules and superman. Of course the modern perception of an epic hero has changed and we’re now seeing a lot more flaws than powers in our heroes. So when ‘redefining’ the epic hero, think of what makes the hero in Paradise Lost heroic and compare that to the stereotypical view of heroes, like Hercules and superman. How are their heroic qualities different.It seems from the questions you need to answer she’s assuming that you’ll just fall in line with the Satan as hero prospect and so is kind of answering a lot of the questions by that itself. Otherwise you’d have an extremely difficult time answer all the other questions. Teachers *rolls eyes*.So lets say Satan is an unconventional epic hero. Shorten that to ‘hero’. The epic part doesn’t really matter that much, the reason it’s included is because Paradise Lost is an ‘epic’ poem. So wherever you see ‘epic’ just cut it out.A hero is not necessarily a ‘tragic’ hero. A tragic hero has their title as hero founded on their personal/internal suffering and struggle. An uphill battle. Like Frodo in Lord of the Rings. The Return of the King shows Frodo clearest as a tragic hero as the ring takes more and more of him until he realises he’ll never be able to recover and still goes on to Mordor to destroy it.

  2. Pimenta says:

    Sounds like a crap assignment. You can’t redefine words and end up with any meaning. What if sky meant earth? Yeah, so OK, then “epic hero” would be a bad thing and the hero would be called the “satan” of the story and epic poems would be known as satanic poems. It’s pointless.