Analysis Of The Book ' Courage John F. Kennedy Speaks About The Duty Of Man

Analysis Of The Book ' Courage John F. Kennedy Speaks About The Duty Of Man

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In the book Profiles in Courage John F. Kennedy speaks about the duty of man, "A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality" (266). Achilles and Aeneas are two warriors whose duty conflict wither own desire. For Achilles it is rage or more precisely cholos, and Aeneas’ is love. Aeneas and Achilles react to their duty in differently, Achilles turns away from his duty to the Greeks out of rage, and Aeneas turns away from his own desires for his duty to the Trojan survivors. These classic heroes share many traits, but when it comes to how they react to their situation they are completely different.
Through his disdain for Agamemnon Achilles acts on his cholos even after he is assured that he will be rewarded three times over by Athena. After Athena has stopped Achilles from murdering Agamemnon Achilles states, “When every last Greek desperately misses Achilles, / Your remorse won’t do you any good then … / Because you failed to honor the best Greek of all” (255-259). His wrath over Agamemnon taking his prize, a young girl named Chryseies, drives him to abandon the Greeks in their time of need. Achilles has a duty to fight being the mightiest of the Greeks, and he declines to perform his duty when Agamemnon shows him disdain. Whether his response is justified or not he declines to perform his duty to the Greeks he has fought with.
Compared to Achilles, Aeneas sacrifices what he desires for his people. The first case of this is early on when Troy his home has fallen and he loses his wife Creusa dies as they make their escape from the city. As Aeneas is about to flee Troy Creusa’s shade tells of their fate, “But the gods forbid...


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...es acts upon his humanity, and shows mercy. Priam pleas with Achilles to release Hector’s body, and it is then that he says, “Let our pain / Lie at rest a while, no matter how much we hurt. / There’s nothing to be gained from cold grief” (561-563). Achilles shows mercy to his greatest enemy at the moment he is most vulnerable, acting upon his humanity instead of his cholos. The major difference between Achilles and Aeneas is this change of attitude. Achilles acts completely differently from before, choosing not only to spare Priam’s life but grant him his wish, while Aeneas acts on rage killing the man who killed his friend. Achilles and Aeneas come full circle, Achilles acts on his own whims and desires, but in the end he shows mercy and compassion. Aeneas sacrifices those he loves and his own desires, but when faced with the urus he acts upon rage instead of duty.

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