New York: Penguin Books, 1990. Parry, Adam M. The Language of Achilles and Other Papers. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Both Achilles and Diomedes easily meet the first requirement, that a hero must have skill on the battlefield. Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of their incredible (though usually go... ... middle of paper ... ...kill in battle, respect for authority, humility, and coolness under fire. Not many men met all requirements, including Achilles, but they were still viewed as heroes. Between Achilles and Diomedes, Diomedes was the better choice for the title of hero. He was one of the finest Greek soldiers.
Athena, the god of wisdom, chose to aid in Odysseus’ journey because of his abilities to quickly think of a clever plan that succeeds in saving not only himself but his crew every time. Odysseus is the most famous of the ancient Greek heroes, and for very good reasons. Odysseus is both strong and extremely clever and is able to continuously use his brains to manipulate others into falling for every plot he concocts. The comparative incompetence of the other characters in The Odyssey served very well to highlight his true greatness, allowing him to be remembered for so many years and for many more to come.
However, their personality traits are very dissimilar. The comparison of Achilles and Hector shows similar traits between them but Homer describes Achilles as the superior warrior in The Iliad. Achilles and Hector are similar in the sense of war and combat ability but not through their personalities. For instance, the way that they are looked at by their peers is very alike. In Homer’s eyes, they are both world-class warriors, heroes, and born leaders.
The people in ancient times chose Achilles rather than Hector merely because Achilles is an outstanding warrior and he is part god. Fighting is what Achilles excels at, and at that time, that was really the only aspect that mattered. It does not matter that Achilles is selfish, stubborn, and prideful, as long as he can fight well for his country. The Greeks were actually hurt by this because Achilles did not even end up fighting for his country until his best friend died. His stubbornness outweighed his greatness (Homer 178).
Hector and Achilles were both outstanding leaders at different times, and for different reasons. As a military leader Achilles had many more kills than Hector, but he was adamant. When comparing combat skills Hector is inferior to Achilles ability, but he is a far better commander. When comparing each warrior’s strengths and weaknesses it can be proven that Hector is the greater. Achilles always seemed to need help to win his battles in life, whether it was aid from a god, his immortality, or his indestructible armor.
A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey. New York: Oxford UP, 1988. Jones, P.V. Homer's Odyssey: A Companion to the Translation of Richard Lattimore. Bedminster: Bristol Classic Press, 1988.
Van Nortwick, Thomas. Somewhere I have travelled: the hero's journey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Whitman, Cedric H. Homer and the Heroic Tradition. Cambridge, Mass.
Unlike the usual tragic hero, Achilles is able to change, reverse his downfall, and actually prove himself as a true hero. The first requirement of Aristotle's tragic hero is that they are more admirable than the average character. Achilles meets this requirement because of his ability on the battlefield. In The Iliad, the background to the story is the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. This background is not only the basis for the story overall, but is also the basis for Achilles' own story.