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Achilles; The True Hero Of The Iliad

842 words - 4 pages

In literature, there are two types of heroes, epic and tragic. An epic hero reflects their society’s values, immortalized in the eyes of their people, and shows courage in the face of adverse situations. Achilles is an epic hero because he embodied the honor that was so highly regarded in Greek society, chose to die early in battle and be remembered gloriously rather than living a long anonymous life in his homeland of Pthia, and avenged Patroclus’s death.
The first reason Achilles is an epic hero is because he embodied the characteristics of the ideal Greek citizen at the time Homer wrote; he is in a position of power and regards honor highly. “O my mother! I was born to die young, it is ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, wanting fame and glory, he chose to die a hero in battle. After the death of Patroclus, Achilles declares, “Fate I will welcome whenever Zeus and All gods may choose to bring it… So with me; if a like fate has been ordained for me, there I shall lie when I am dead; but now may I win a glorious name” (218). Achilles was traumatized by the Patroclus’ death and decided the only thing that mattered was going back into battle and winning a name for himself so he would be remembered after his own death. Writer Lynn M. Zott further explains Achilles’ thirst for glory after death, stating, “Thus, Achilles personifies the dual Greek conception of the brevity of life and the eternity of fame”. Even though he knew his life would be short, Achilles wanted to be remembered after he died as a great hero who killed many Trojans in the war. After Patroclus died, Achilles secured his fate of dying young in Troy when he decided to kill Hector, knowing that, as his fate stated, his death would follow soon.
Another characteristic of an epic hero is courage in the face of adversity. Patroclus’ death was a huge obstacle for Achilles to overcome because Patroclus was his lifelong companion but Achilles avenged the death of his friend even through his grief. Vowing to avenge Patroclus, Achilles promises that he will “Go and find...

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