The Ancient Greek Myths Essay

The Ancient Greek Myths Essay

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People often make choices based on whether something may or may not affect their longevity. It is now a well-known fact that smoking is bad for one’s health and shortens one’s life expectancy. Aside from the other things that people may not like about smoking like the smell or taste, many people choose not to smoke based on the fact that it shortens their life. Since everyone dies eventually some people argue that having a short but eventful or pleasure-filled life, depending on what school of thought that they are subscribed to, is better than living a long drab life. The ancient Greek myths often had heroes who had spectacular accomplishments but died young. These heroes such as Achilles often sought after kleos, κλέος, which translated to English means glory and fame. Kleos is implied to mean “what others hear about you” (Wheeler). Kleos is achieved through great feats, especially through battle. Conversely nostos, νόστος, means homecoming. Nostos, the “idea of returning home after a long journey” is important in the Odyssey. The Greek heroes would not be considered heroes if they just stayed home with their wife. Odysseus found a balance between kleos and nostos. However, for many of the Greek heroes in ancient Greek myths kleos was more valued than nostos.
A Greek hero who sought after kleos more than nostos was Jason. Jason, the son of the king deposed by Pelias, went to Pelias’s kingdom to reclaim the throne. Jason lost his sandal on the way and as he approached Pelias was frightened. An oracle had foretold Pelias a man “shod with only a single sandal” would take his life (Hamilton, p. 161). Jason told him he wanted no quarrel. Pelias could keep all the wealth that he had taken, but the “sovereign scepter and the throne” sh...

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.... He prized military values of honor, courage, and glory he gave up the possibility of a long life for them. Hektor was held in the highest esteem of his wife, mother and sister in law because of his kleos. They all gave him a sort of eulogy in book 24 of the Iliad.
In the discussion of kleos Achilles is the ultimate example. His mother Thetis told him he had the choice between a short, glorious life where his name would live on forever and a long obscure life where his name would die after his children die. Achilles driven by his thirst for glory, chose to live a brief but triumphant life. Achilles knew that even the strongest and bravest cannot escape death. He found immortality in fame, in his kleos. That is really what these Greek heroes sought after, a legacy. They may be dead a thousand years, but their name lasts in legend forever. This was their immortality.

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