Amber Hill Iliad Essay Professor Hicok February 25, 2013 Hector: A True Hero Bravery and courage are some attributes commonly used to distinguish a hero. The Iliad is packed with warriors pursuing the title of epic hero. However, each warrior may hold a slightly different perception of true justice. Notorious Achilles steals center stage, despite the fact that he spends the majority of the epic avoiding the war. Attempting to defeat the ranks of Achaeans is Hector.
He fought nobly in all battles and believed in tradition when called upon. Achilles is seen as the admirable heroic figure. Homer clearly presents Achilles as one of the greatest of the warriors of Troy. He displays Achilles as “the greatest of the Greek heroes fighting in the war against Troy” (Homer xvii). He even begins the Iliad’s introduction with “the rage of Achilles” (Homer xvii).
Beowulf What does it mean to be considered an Anglo-Saxon hero? Anyone who was an Anglo- Saxon warrior was also considered an Anglo-Saxon hero. In the Anglo-Saxon times it was crucial to live by the Anglo-Saxon code. This epic poem Beowulf was passed down orally, generation to generation and has no known author. This epic poem illustrates the journey and hardship of one Anglo-Saxon warrior named Beowulf, who because of his journey became known as one of the respected heroes of the Anglo-Saxon times.
In addition, in order for him to succeed he must orally deliver his resume. Nevertheless, bragging aside, Beowulf is undoubtedly a brave man. When Beowulf sets out to kill Grendel's mother he simply "donned his armor for battle, Heeded not the danger..." (1328-29 60). When his sword fails him he uses his physical strength: "On the might of his hand, as a man must do Who thinks to win in the welter of battle Enduring glory; he fears not death" (1420-23 62). Certainly he is in search of fame.
His cockiness of being so “strong, swift, and godlike” (Norton’s page 110) results from many reasons. Achilles’ evident strength makes him the most fierce and best fighter of the Greek army. Showing Achilles feels he is so good, the Greek army with be nothing without him, he swears by his scepter to Agamemnon, “When every last Greek desperately misses Achilles, your remorse won’t do any good then, when Hector the man-killer swats you down like flies, and you will your heart out because you have failed to honor the best Greek of all.” (Norton’s page 113) As mentioned, Achilles holds a scepter made from the mountains of Olympus. It is said, “A scepter-holding king has honor beyond the rest of men, power and glory given by Zeus himself.” (Norton’s page 114) The greatest factor of all which allows Achilles to have such a high conception of his position is how he is linked to the gods. Although Achilles’ father, Peleus, is a mortal, his mother is not.
In Homer's lyrical verses and in his use of detail, diction, and imagery, he paints his own portrait of a classic hero through the brave deeds as well as the human flaws of Hector and Achilles that eventually lead to the downfall of proud and powerful Hector. The first characteristic that is assigned to a classic hero by Homer is the fact that they are strong and brave, and may even have god-like qualities. To emphasize this, Homer deliberately and repeatedly adds adjectives that praise the two heroes before their names almost every time he refers to them. While Achilles is usually depicted as swift and godlike, Homer portrays Hector as bright, dazzling and dignified. Homer uses phrases like, "...noble bright-helmeted Hector..."(398;Book 22), "...man-killing Hector..." (149;Book 6), and "Resplendent Hector..."(146;Book 6) to describe the Trojan soldier, while he praises Hector's Greek opponent with such expressions as "Achilles, peer of the plume-waving war god..."(145;Book 22) and "...Achilles, swift of foot..."(182;Book 1).
From a modern perspective, Achilles ultimately fails to come across as a heroic figure in the Iliad; his actions are trite and petulant when compared to the deeds of the Great Ajax. The two characters are a dichotomy and serve a fundamental purpose of comparison within the text. Achilles is interested only in kleos, his personal glory, which he attains through the sacrifice of thousands of his comrades in arms. The Great Ajax, however, is consumed only with the safety and wellbeing of his fellow soldiers, and doesn’t hesitate to put himself in harms way in order to protect them. A character will fail to come across as heroic without self-sacrifice.
Does Achilles emerge as a sympathetic character? Why or why not? Achilles is a Greek warrior who fights in the Trojan War. He is respected and revered as a hero among all of the Greek people and he is the most important character in the Iliad. Achilles is an unbelievable warrior who doesn’t get the thanks he deserves.
The Achilles of ancient Greek legend is often counted among the greatest of epic heroes for his fantastical exploits during the Trojan War as depicted by Homer in the Iliad. While it is easy to become seduced by the power and might of invincible Achilles we must remember to not confuse unchecked power with heroism. While Achilles is indeed powerful, a master warrior by all qualifications, he fails as a hero to be imitated or idolized due to his lack of restraint, his barbarity, his lack of a code of conduct, his impiety and his dishonorable behavior. Achilles wields great courage and fortitude but he is also is critically deficient in the other (perhaps more important) cornerstones of the epic hero: temperance, prudence and a sense of justice or magnanimity. It is the intemperance of the man, famously referred to as the “rage of Achilles,” which is perhaps his tragic flaw, a failing which resulted in the unnecessary deaths of untold scores of Greeks and Trojans and nearly spelled complete destruction for the Greek fleet.
Throughout The <br>Iliad, Achilles went through some significant changes that affected himself, as well as the <br>Achaeans and Trojans. He began a hero and ended a tragic hero. <br> The Trojan War is vital to Greek mythology and provides a backdrop for <br>discussion. Before the war even started, however, it was known by all Trojans and <br>Achaeans that Achilles was the best fighter. He was the hero of all fighters.