Achilles: An Inspiring Hero? Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, was an inspiration to many people both past and present. While he was a hero in terms of his strength in battle, he also proves that he is heroic when it comes to morals. Achilles’ accomplishments as commander and conqueror in the Trojan War alone are enough to prove his heroics (That’s Greece, N.D.). Being born a demigod, he exemplifies the power and leadership of the gods before him (The History Channel, 2014).
As cultures have evolved, so have the values that they cherish—heroism being one of them. In The Iliad, Achilles and Hector are the two most powerful and fearsome warriors on the battlefield at Troy. Both of them exhibit heroic values, but the two heroes are notably different. When they fight, they give every ounce of what they have to the fight and inspire their men to do the same. The Ancient Greeks for whom this epic was written craved this type of hero, and with Achilles and Hector, they got two.
Alexander was brought up admiring Homeric heroes, and was inspired by their emotional impulses. Alexander wanted to be seen as braver than brave, the mostly kingly of kings, and the greatest of all generals. Alexander wanted to identify with mythical and divine conquerors, such as Dionysus. Anaxarchus, a Greek philosopher whom accompanied Alexander at the school of Democritus, said that Alexander had better claims to be a god than Dionysus and Heracles, due to Alexander’s grand accomplishments. Alexander was inspired by Homer’s hero Achilles, and his aspiration for greatness – he even saw himself as a reincarnation of this Homeric hero.
His dedication and firm belief in the code of honor is described many times throughout the course of the Iliad. As a reward for heroic traits in battle, prizes were sometimes awarded to victors of war. In Book 1 Achilles receives Chryseis as a prize and a symbol of honor. Heroism had its rewards and its setbacks which ultimately was the backbone of the Illiad in the case of Achilles prize. Hector, arguably the greatest Trojan warrior or even the bravest of the Homeric heroes is very fierce and fights for what he believes is his destiny.
He is finally with the people who love him and are faithful to him, and the conflicts are over. However, not everything is the way it used to be. Many of Ithaca’s greatest men are dead, killed for their lust. Servants are dead as well for not being faithful to their master Odysseus. There is almost another outbreak of violence between the people of Ithaca and Odysseus for killing the suitors, but Athena ends the violence.
While Achilles on the contrary, he represents the Greek as an important warrior. Despite of the Greek views Patroclus as a hero, they gave Achilles a magnificent commemoration in his regard since he was influenced to take part to win the war after Patroclus passed
While explaining the influence, I will compare and contrast the ideas of what characteristics both ancient heroes and modern heroes possess. More common in ancient times than in modern time, all heroes had to be strong, courageous, smart, confident, noble, and possess ‘kleos’ or glory that is the result of their incredible actions. The main character of the Odyssey, Odysseus was a hero of the Trojan War and proved his kleos many times with his brute strength and cunning. To the Greek, being a strong figure is important to being a hero, however, Odysseus does not only rely on his strength to overcome all situations, and instead he uses his mind and cleverness to achieve glory. In modern time, people of great strength are looked up to and admire, but they are not what people typically have in mind as a hero.
In some ways, Achilles’ life followed the description of some reoccurring Greek motifs, while other characteristics of him were unique in his own heroic way. Webster’s Dictionary defines as a motif as “a dominant idea or feature or a reoccurring subject, theme, idea, etc. Motifs are very prominent in Greek stories and mythology, as they are the main reason that mythological stories even exist—to portray a theme or a message to those who read them. The most reoccurring Greek motifs that exist include the extraordinary birth or childhood of a hero, the opposition to hero from enemies, the proving of a hero’s worth, seemingly impossible tasks and adventures, trips to the Underworld, challenges instigated by enemies, help received by gods or humans, rewards such as marriage, wealth, or power, and knowledge through suffering. These are all characteristic of a typical Greek myth, many of which directly relate to Achilles himself.
Achilles’ key to fame was not only in killing hordes of Trojans but also killing one of their beloved icons – Hector. “...Brilliant Achilles drove his spear and the point went stabbing clean through the tender neck...” He killed Hector as revenge for Hector killing Patroclus. Hector was the first Trojan icon to go down in The Iliad although the next ones went down later on in the war, perhaps not in The... ... middle of paper ... ...pt one) fled his side, he bravely fought the dragon. He did not survive the battle against the dragon, however, but Beowulf did manage to slay him. And death in battle also attributes to the glory he earned and will leave him to be a very famous man throughout history (in the story.
In two of Homers epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, it can be seen that in his epics he displays his own Homeric and heroic. The honor of every person in Homeric culture was important, but to the hero, his honor was extremely important. Not only does ones heroism and honor define ones social status and ranking, it is also defense mechanism to build within their own persona of themselves. This way of thinking can cause the Homeric characters to feel invincible and untouchable to their enemies with pride of dying with honor. In the Iliad, the two major opponents with the same ranking stature of being exceptional warriors were Achilles and Hector.