Achilles: The Tragic Hero of The Iliad Essay

Achilles: The Tragic Hero of The Iliad Essay

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Achilles can be described as a Tragic Hero in many ways. He was brave and had great strength but, he was also prideful and lacked control with his emotions, and in all the label of a tragic hero fits him. A Tragic hero is “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy” (“Tragic Hero”). To many men Achilles was god-like, and immortal, the epitome of a hero to the Greeks, he was strong, brave in the face of war, and of noble birth because he was the son of a goddess. In the Iliad, Achilles, driven by anger seeks revenge on Hector for killing his “dearest comrade” (“The Heroic Age”), Patroclus, whom he claims to have valued more than his own life. He avenges his friend by killing Hector.
Achilles can be defined as a hero in the sense that he fought for his friend and he got the revenge that he wanted. He avenged his true friend by killing the man who killed him. Achilles was a brave soldier in battle and wept when his friend was killed. Being the “hero” that everyone thought he was, he cried to his mother whom said that he should not go to avenge his friend because he was “doomed to a short life […] your death must come at once” (Homer). This can be taken into consideration when describing his heroicness, because he did not heed the warning his mother gave him, instead he basically said that he should die then because he could not save his friend. It is “brave” of Achilles to want to avenge his friend. Achilles then went out and killed Hector.
This is also an example of Achilles’ lack of emotional control. His emotions are all over the place. It is understandable to be upset for the loss of a comrade but not only is he grieving, but the rage ...


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... his actions, which in the end could be connected with his death. The contemporary generation should take inspiration from Achilles but, they should not mimic him. Bravery and strength is something to strive for, especially emotionally. Achilles was physically strong and mentally brave but he was not emotionally stable.
In conclusion, Achilles can be described as a tragic hero because although he had all the qualities of a hero, through his fatal flaw he was killed. Achilles is in all sense of the Greek definition, a hero; brave, strong, noble, and a fantastic warrior, but in the end he died because no one is truly immortal. This is something that could inspire the contemporary generation, because it is safe to say that although bravery is something that is considered a good quality in most societies it could also lead to your downfall if you are recklessly brave.

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