Every civilization throughout history has had its heroes, those who represent the values of their society to the highest degree. In today’s society, we think of heroes as super-humans who run faster than a speeding train and leap over buildings in a single bound. In ancient Greece, heroes were people who demonstrated great feats of strength and tremendous courage in battle. Greek heroes possessed wealth, power, and courage which earned them respect and honor in the community. In the Iliad, Homer tells the story of two warriors, Achilleus and Hektor, both of whom exhibit many of the qualities of a Greek hero.
Throughout history writings have portrayed men of greatness, through epic journeys, mythological engagement, and triumphant warriors or as a combination of the aforementioned. In Homer’s epic the Iliad, there is great story that encompasses all of those traits focusing mainly on the aspect of war and its surrounding affects. One aspect often over looked is how lineage and birthright are the building blocks of obligation and roles for the characters within the story. Hector a prince of Troy, as many have concluded by now; was a man of loyalty, virtue, courage and obligation. In many era’s those of noble birthright are portrayed with some semblance of Hector’s traits, and why is this?
Odysseus literally overcame going through hell and back. Going into hell causes a lot of physical stress but emotional stress came about him when he saw his mother there. He did not know she had died because he had been gone so long but did not react to this news like any other hero would have done. Scylla and Charybdis were sure to be the end of Odysseus and it very well should of been, but once again the hero used his quick actions and was spared. He still could have perished from these obstacles,however he saved himself from the destruction.
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).
Hectors death just intensifies the sympathy the reader has for him and deepens the dislike for Achilles, especially when he drags the body. Hector can be seen as a hero because the reader becomes attached and hopeful for him as the story goes on because they recognize all the honorable traits he possesses. Even though The Iliad is a Greek epic poem Homer is really getting at how Hector was a better hero than Achilles or even the Hero of The Iliad. Homer shows Achilles as a selfish, disgraceful warrior that does not care about the lives of his fellow countrymen and even wish for their deaths. Achilles is put in a repulsive light while Hector is seen in a captivating way.
Achilles-the great and powerful hero. Achilles does not understand the ramifications to his actions, he is too caught up his kleos and geras to internalize any of the damage that is done. The menis that overpowers him for most of the book blinds him to the toll his supplication to his mother, and his mother’s supplication to Zeus, enacts. He wishes death and destruction on his own side, just so he can have his war prize, his honor. Achilles remains absent for most of the book, and the only thing that pulls him back into the war is the death of his dearest friend, Patroclus, who Achilles lets go into battle as him because it would bring him even more kleos.
Sparta and Athens: Two of the most prominent city-states in the Greek empire and home to two of the most different view upon life. Homer writes a brilliant tale about the soldiers of war returning home from war to these city-states, but centers around a single hero, Odysseus. Odysseus has fought valiantly through the Trojan War, but while he is returning home, countless challenges change his course and delay him for years and years. Odysseus shows many different traits while facing these challenges, leading us to believe that he is actually from one of the prominent city-states. The only question remains is whether he is from Sparta or from Athens.
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. The man might have really existed). Sad to say though that both characters Achilles and Beowulf died in the end; however, we are all going to die someday and both of them died when it was important – in battle earning honor. Many of us in the real world will not get that kind of death and that is why people like to read and listen to these kinds of stories, so they can fantasize about being heroes and warriors in their own minds. Bibliography: The Norton Anthology, World Masterpieces, Vol 1.
Epic poems typically contain characters classified as heroic and strong. Odysseus is the main character in this epic poem. He is king Ithaca with a wife and a born son. Odysseus left his home to join in the Trojan War, but his crew was disloyal to gods causing his voyage to be longer than he bargained for. There three traits that Odysseus possesses, and they are the main things that bring him home.
In these poems, or stories, there is always a hero that the story is centered around, often times even named for. These heroes include Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas, Socrates, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Arthur; there are certain things about these men that make them heroes. Achilles is the ideal hero, the obvious hero. He is the son of a goddess and a man, a demi-god. He is handsome and kingly in stature.