Differences In Heroes In The Iliad

1101 words - 4 pages

Differences in Heroes in The Iliad

“What a worthless, burnt-out coward I’d be called
If I would submit to you and all your orders,
Whatever you blurt out. Fling them at others,
Don’t give me commands !
Never again, I trust, will Achilles yield to you –
My hands will never do battle for that girl,
Neither with you, King, nor any man Alive.”(p 111)
With these wrathful words of Achilles to his commander Agamemnon, so begins the sequence of events in The Iliad that ultimately pits Achilles the runner against Hector, breaker of horses. Although these men were already enemies, Achilles being an Achaean and Hector being a Trojan, it is truly Achilles’ rage that makes the rivalry personal. These two men, from opposite sides of the battle lines, are both strong, brave, and heroic, but also possess a myriad of conflicting character traits. It is these differences that aid both men in their independent pursuits for honor and the implementation of their separate destinies.
Achilles is half-divine because he is the son of the goddess Thetis and a mortal, Peleus. He is by far the greatest warrior in the Trojan war and is considered to be “worth an entire army” (p.134). The very sight of him throws fear into the hearts of, otherwise courageous warriors. A true man of war, Agamemnon calls him, “ the most violent man alive” (p 107). With his fierce nature and taste for war also comes his prideful ways. When this delicate pride is damaged by the public disgracing Agamemnon brings upon him by taking his war prize, he selfishly decides to withdraw from battle. Achilles goes to his divine mother for the malicious reason of asking
Her to beg Zeus for help in getting reprisal on Agamemnon. He pleads with her :
“… now, go and sit beside [Zeus], grasp his knees…
persuade him, somehow, to help the Trojan cause,
to pin Achaeans back against their ships,
trap them round the bay and mow them down.
So all can reap the benefits of their king –
So even mighty Atrides can see how mad he was
To disgrace Achilles, the best of the Achaeans !” (p 114)
This decision of prideful betrayal brings many casualties to the Achaean army. Once Agamemnon apologetically offers Achilles many valuable gifts along with the return of his war prize, Achilles refuses. In this rejection, Achilles is putting his own animosity toward Agamemnon above the needs of his fellow Achaeans. His friend Phoenix tells him to think of his diminishing honor, but Achilles answers, “…what do I need with honor such as that ?/ … It degrades you to curry favor with [Agamemnon],/ and I will hate you for it, I who love you./ It does you proud to stand by me, my friend,/ to attack the man who attacks me…”(p 147). Not only does Achilles reject honor, but he egotistically asks his father figure, Phoenix, to give up his in order to take his side.
Achilles’ insolent pride backfires on him when he becomes ultimately responsible for the death of his best friend Patroclus. Although Achilles...

Find Another Essay On Differences in Heroes in The Iliad

Glory in the Iliad Essay

929 words - 4 pages says to him “It is not your’s to have a pitiless heart.” However, for Achilleus, having pity on his comrades and achieving glory on the battlefield will cost him his life because he is fated to either go home and be forgotten, or to fight and die, winning great glory to be remembered forever. The price that heroes pay for the glory they obtain is something readily forgotten if one does not read The Iliad in the context of the times. In the

HEROISM IN THE ILIAD Essay

1122 words - 4 pages In the Iliad there are many characters that could be considered heroic. But the two main characters that stand out as heroes to me are swift-footed Achilles and flashing-helmet Hector. Numerous times throughout the epic they display qualities and traits that are unsurpassed by anyone on their side. Many times throughout the epic Achilles and Hector are tested for their strength, and will to win in battle, which for both warriors always ends up

Women in the Iliad

1122 words - 5 pages The role of women in the Iliad is a subject that remains open to debate. The Iliad is set during and tells the events of the Trojan War. For the war men belonged to the battlefield as warriors. Women on the other hand were not involved in the activities of war in anyway. While men were bravely at war, women were to stay home for years without seeing their loved ones. Homer portrayed female characters having no substance and were nothing more

Hospitality in the Iliad

1330 words - 6 pages Hospitality in the Iliad gives us an insight in ancient greece and was a major characteristic of their culture. In the Iliad there are many instances of the applications of hospitality in the lives of the people back then. We use the Iliad as a tool to look into their culture because this would have been passed down orally for generations as some of the only literature they had. SO their worldviews and values would be apparent in these precious

Fate In The Iliad

719 words - 3 pages According to Homer, fate is the supreme ruler in the lives of humanity. No matter how talented or determined you may be, in the end it is fate, which directs the happenings in a person's life. Throughout his books the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer emphasizes the effect of fate on the lives of mankind. Homer especially illustrates this view of fate's control in the character of Hektor in the Iliad. Hektor was a religious man, faithful to

Grief in The Iliad

651 words - 3 pages Grief in The Iliad There are many lessons that can be learned from reading Homer's The Iliad. One of which is understanding the stages of grief. One can literally watch Achilles go through all five stages when he morns the death of his comrade Patroclus. Achilles moves through Denial and Isolation, Depression, Anger, Bargaining and Acceptance in the short time after his close friends death. "Sheltered under his curving, beaked ships he

Women In The Iliad

1630 words - 7 pages The famous epic poem the Iliad, written by Homer, is based on the Trojan War and mythology. The gods in this novel are very significant. They control what happens to the mortals and the results of conflicts. Achilles, the main character, is thought to be the greatest fighter of all, and as quick as a lion on an antelope. He is the great one who eradicates Hector out of shear vengeance. Throughout the tale, many battles are fought and many

Heroes in "The Odyssey."

1302 words - 5 pages Are there actually heroes in the world? If so, why do they exist? I believe that no one person in this world can be plainly labeled as such because humans are tremendously complex and irrational which is the root of nearly all evil. There has never been nor will there ever be one being (excluding Jesus) that has ever been entirely good with a complete void from evil. By this I mean no one is one hundred percent heroic and virtuous; the closest

Achiles’ Shield in the Iliad

3954 words - 16 pages Achiles’ Shield as an Element of Contradistinction in the Iliad The Iliad is an epic of death. It is a tale of conflict, battle, agony, and horrific mutilation. Honor and glory are attained through warfare. The great shield of Achiles stands out in this context because it depicts the glories of an orderly, functioning, productive civilization. This depiction of life stands in stark contrast to the scenes of death that constitute a large

Greek Gods in the Iliad

975 words - 4 pages Troy. Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo, perhaps angered by Agamemmnon's refusal to ransom Khryseis, the daughter of one of his priests and was constantly changing the course of the war in favour of the Trojans. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the

Achilles’ Courage in the Iliad

1010 words - 5 pages In Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles is often referred to as a very courageous Greek hero but a further look into the epic will reveal a man that is more arrogant than courageous. It was truly his arrogance that made his name famous and not his courage. Achilles was a narcissistic, self-serving man who was not concerned with his fellow country man. His actions of courage can easily be revealed as selfishness instead of what most people believe. In

Similar Essays

Heroes In The Iliad Essay

1124 words - 4 pages realizes that the Trojans have the upper hand, and does not want the Greeks to lose without a putting up a respectable fight. He feels that for the Greeks to turn around and leave would be a great dishonor, and does everything in his power to keep them in the battle. Nestor's advice, finally, challenges the Achaians to live up to the honorable precedent set by the book's fallen heroes. The characters in The Iliad base many of their actions on

Heroes In The Iliad And Their Criteria

1473 words - 6 pages , but also accepting everything that happened as Fate, not scenarios they had created for themselves. In other words, they did not make themselves what they were; rather, they had been predestined to become it. The final requirement of being a hero was coolness. Heroes were not permitted to be blinded by rage or have mood swings. In The Iliad, two Greeks are presented to the reader as heroes. They are Achilles and Diomedes. Although they are both

Heroic Heroes In Iliad By Homer

897 words - 4 pages The epic poem, The Iliad by Homer depicts the Trojan War and its Heroes. Heroism is the qualities of a character of a person that makes them great. Two characters seen as heroic are Achilles and Hector, however; Achilles is more heroic because of his audacity, allegiance, compassion. Heroism can be defined as the pursuit of good through warfare. Achilles is more heroic than Hector because more action occurs by the time Achilles engages in

Heroes Usually Die Young In The Iliad, But Odysseus Has Wit

547 words - 2 pages In the Iliad the Heroes are the ones who died young on the battle field in the high of their prime. A perfect example of this is Achilles, who choose to go to Troy knowing he will have a story, but glories life. Odysseus, does care about the glory of war. He does everything he can to stay at home with his family. Including faking insanity and sowing his field with salts. Yet he still consider a hero. In fact Odyssey is a story about Odysseus