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Who Was The Real Hero In Homer's The Iliad?

1187 words - 5 pages

In Homer’s The Iliad he tells of the battles and events during the time of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. This was just a small portion of the Trojan War that had lasted ten years. The Iliad shares the ideas of the glory of war, military values over family life, and the impermanence of human life and its creation. One thing that Homer does is characterize the two different warriors Achilles and Hector. These two great warriors both show different kinds of traits that shape the character they become throughout the The Iliad. Achilles is the main hero in The Iliad, but Homer subliminally tries to persuade the reader that Hector is the true hero in this story.
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The beginning of Achilles rage starts when his pride is contested by Agamemnon, who takes his war prize, Briseis, away from him. This enrages Achilles so much that he stops fighting and abandons his fellow countrymen and even goes to the extent of praying that the Trojans will slaughter them. Achilles calls upon the goddess Thetis, his mother, to pray for him to Zeus: “Let the Achaeans be hemmed in at the sterns of their ships, and perish on the seashore, that they may reap what joy they may of their king, and that Agamemnon may rue his derangement in offering insult to the best of the Achaeans.” Homer shows that Achilles is an individual warrior who is the model of a person who is not a team player and is willing to let all his fellow men be slaughtered. Achilles is asking for the death of his fellow countrymen so he can prove that he is the superlative warrior of all the Achaeans, not Agamemnon. This is not a trait of a hero, it is savagely selfish and a worthy hero would want not to harm his people, but to save and protect them. Eventually his prayer becomes reality and his cousin Patroclus is slain. This causes Achilles to rejoin the fight, but his rage for Agamemnon does not subside, but redirected towards Patroclus’s killer, the Prince of Troy, Hector. Achilles goes on a killing rampage after the death of Patroclus slaughtering Trojans like animals, thus turning Achilles into an animal like creature. He shows no mercy towards anyone in his path and even threatens Hector by saying "Dog, talk not to me neither of knees nor parents; would that I could be as sure of being able to cut your flesh into pieces and eat it raw, for the ill you have done me, as I am that nothing shall save you from the dogs - it shall not be, though they bring ten or twenty-fold ransom and weigh it out for me on the spot, with promise of yet more hereafter. Though Priam son of Dardanos should bid them offer me your weight in gold, even so your mother shall never lay you out and make lament over the son she bore, but dogs and vultures shall eat you up utterly." Achilles eventually kills Hector, ties his dead body to his horse and chariot, then goes on to drag his body in front of his family and all the way back to...

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