From Homeric epic, to tragedies, the idea of heroism has changed with the passage of time. Around 8th century B.C.E is when Homeric epic first defined heroism. From heroes, such as Achilles from the Iliad, to heroes like Odysseus from the Odyssey, a hero was represented as a brave, strong, and cunning individual. Homeric heroes also can be god-like, such as Achilles, who is a demi-god, born from the sea-nymph Thetis and Peleus, another Greek hero. While the heroes are the best of the best, they also tend to be very stubborn at times, and act childish. For example, in the Iliad when the Embassy goes to Achilles to try and persuade him to return to battle, and Achilles responds with “I don’t think that Agamemnon son-of-Atreus, or any other Greek, will be able to persuade me, since it was made clear that there was no thanks or reward for all the fighting I did against the enemy day after day after day” (9. 311-314). This shows that instead of following the heroic code and fighting for glory like a standard hero would, he acts like a child because Agamemnon upset him and is sad he is not being rewarded. Another example of a Hero acting stubborn is the Greek hero Ajax, who also fought durin...
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...t heroism can be represented differently not only within the same genre, but even within the same epic poem.
Whether it is Achilles or Odysseus, the pursuit of glory or ignoring the truth when it is presented, or 8th century B.C.E or 4th century B.C.E, heroism changes depending on the situation. This is proved by how heroes differ depending on what the theme is, such has how the hero is brave and strong when the theme is about glory, but when the them focuses on using less strength, the hero is more cunning. It is also proved by how two heroes within the same poem or play can even be slightly different, such as Achilles or Hector. Lastly, it is proven by how heroes from different time periods are different, such as Homeric heroes in 7th century or tragic heroes in 4th century. Heroism has been proven to be a very fluid subject, not having a set definition or rules.
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