Heroes Essay

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What makes someone a hero? Depends on what sort of hero you want, I suppose, since there are tragic heroes and not so tragic heroes and all kinds in between. It does seem to me, however, that almost all great heroes of ancient texts share certain qualities no matter what kind of hero they are; Achilles and Hector from Homer’s The Iliad, for example, share many heroic traits, even if they have different desires and personalities.. And while Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim from The Epic of Gilgamesh seem almost worlds apart as characters go, they still share some key traits with the two from The Iliad. Societies change drastically over time, as do people’s ideals, but it seems that some things we are reluctant to let go of. Almost all of these ancient heros share some qualities with a good amount of our modern day heroes it seems, though not quite all, and for good reason, I should think. Homer’s The Iliad focuses on the trouble caused by Hector’s brother Paris and three Goddesses, a judgment that ended up in a ten year war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Each side has a hero: there’s Hector on the Trojan’s side and Achilles on the Greek’s. While both are mighty warriors, as well as brave, clever, and strong; they are also very different personality wise, Achilles is quick to anger and easily filled with wrath, whereas Hector is a noble and peace loving person. Much of The Iliad, in fact, is focused on Achilles’ wrath, whether it be his anger against Agamemnon, where he refused to fight in order to spite him, or his refusal to give proper burial rites to Hector after he slays him in a one on one battle. Like all heroes though, Achilles's humanity comes forth and he relents, allowing the Trojans to give Hector his funeral. In the ancient Mesopotamian text, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the title character sets off on a quest to gain immortality after the death of his best

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