In the poem, Iliad, Achilles and Hector both show relative heroism in their own different ways. Achilles may have been the more popular hero, but Hector had great heroism as well. Each of these characters possess their own different strengths and weaknesses. These two characters both have pride as being one of their main weaknesses. Hector seems as if he would suit best in the modern world, but there are a few different reasons as to why the ancients may have chose Achilles.
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.
The final requirement of being a hero was coolness. Heroes were not permitted to be blinded by rage or have mood swings. In The Iliad, two Greeks are presented to the reader as heroes. They are Achilles and Diomedes. Although they are both good contenders for the title of hero, Diomedes is by far the better of the two.
The heroic ethos is a set of values that prioritize and glorify the valor of an individual. The motivation of the hero is to garner fame and immortality in legend, resulting in feats of excellence. Characteristics of the heroic ethos include service to people in the upper level of the hierarchy (e.g. relationship between lord and thane), a special relationship to god (special does not necessarily mean positive as in the case of Heracles and Hera), greatness in warfare/slaying, loyal, courageous, indispensable, and (almost) invulnerable. For the hero, the highest good is glory and the highest evil is shame.
A hero is someone who do not endeavor to become a hero, but someone who act in admirable ways, often for the better of everyone else. The modern concept of heroism is what defines a true hero. Achilles is a hero in the Iliad, because of the Greek’s perception of heroism. However, Achilles is not a true hero; Hector is the true hero in the Iliad. Morality is the key to real heroism, and Hector is an ethical and honorable hero.
Also, and epic hero is also usually selfless, a leader, and honorable. These are just a few of the specific qualities that an epic hero must possess in order to be epic. Another characteristic that any epic hero has is their very own tragic flaw. Anyone can be a hero, but it takes much more to be considered an epic hero. Some epic heroes from several different texts that will be analyzed will be Achilles from The Iliad, Odysseus from The Odyssey, Aeneas from The Aeneid, Socrates from The Republic, Gilgamesh from The Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf from Beowulf, and King Arthur from Morte D’Arthur.
These qualities are considered to be characteristics of Homer’s heroic code. However, the actions of Paris are not heroic causing trouble and conflict for many people. In fact, Paris’ non-heroic action started the Trojan War and the hatred between Greece and Troy. A strong character in The Iliad, Hector, is a hero due to the actions and decisions he takes in the poem. Hector dies defending his country which is already heroic, but, the most heroic action of Hector is that he fights knowing that Troy is not going to survive.
Those are some of the traits Odysseus possesses that make me think of him as a hero. Odysseus isn’t just strong physically, but strong emotionally as well. Not all heroes are both of those, so Odysseus stands out from other heroes. After reading The Odyssey, I will always remember Odysseus as a great, epic hero.
Just like real life, not all heroes are picture-perfect; they all have imperfections. In this case, Odysseus is sometimes insolent, and discourteous; but he is still considered an epic hero because of the many heroic qualities he endures. Odysseus proves himself to be an outstanding hero in various ways such as showing loyalty, intelligence, bravery, strength, and courage which are all some of the most momentous qualities found in a hero. If a true hero can prove they are a true hero, makes them a true hero. Throughout The Odyssey, Odysseus shows us a vast amount of bravery and courage; the primary thing a hero needs.
Also, it is difficult to put the blame on him, since he was acting of the commands of his warrior instinct. However, it overlooks the dwelling fate that the last part of the poem's emphasis to understand Beowulf’s death mainly as a personal failure to himself. The two components throughout the poem is Beowulf essentially shows a record of his heroic deeds, giving him the title of a perfect hero. He attempts to live up to the same standards as his ancestors, so he takes pride in ancestors who have acted valiantly in their duties. The poem contains several situations for which the heroic code offers no practical guidance about how to act when loyalties were divided.