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Epic heroes are usually composites of the ideals of a country or a nation. They represent the national identity in a positive manner (that's why they're heroes) and are seldom real people. Some of them are based on actual human beings and their exploits. For example, El Cid was in reality a knight named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar whose tomb may be visited in the Burgos cathedral in Spain. Whether or not he accomplished everything for which he is credited is not certain, but he was a heroic man and therefore a heroic figure. Other heroes are just made up by authors based on the accomplishments of men in the past. This may include such epics as the Odyssey (was there really an Ulysses?) and the Iliad. A mock epic, like Rape of the Lock, uses the exaggerated language and actions of epic heroes for comic purposes. In this case, Pope was satirizing the Greek heroes of the Iliad, and the lock of hair becomes parallel or similar to the abduction of Helen of Troy, which is obviously absurd.
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