Gandalf As An Epic Hero

Decent Essays

“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” - Felix Adler
Although it is accurate, rarely has the epithet “epic hero” been used to describe Gandalf the Wizard. Epic heroes are easily recognizable throughout History textbooks and simple searches via Google, but many people just cannot put a finger on what exactly is an epic hero. The criteria is simple to say, yet difficult to accomplish; do a tremendous deed or disservice and be identified by a well known or well established piece of writing or section of History. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf embodies the characteristics of an epic hero, such as traveling vast distances, battling supernatural foes, and having humility.
Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Gandalf; in their time, these four figures traveled over vast distances. Hannibal through Italy, Caesar through Gaul, Napoleon through Europe, and Gandalf through Middle-earth. However, Gandalf did not just travel the span of Middle-earth, but the span of life and death. In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf is pulled into a dark chasm by a Luciferic creature, a chasm that has a symbolic meaning. He lands and defeats the Balrog on a snowy mountaintop, but death creeps up on him, until it finally takes him over. Gandalf then began a separate journey, one that took him away from life and entered the unknown. As the “stars wheeled
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