Essay about Iliad: Achilles Hero
1628 WordsNov 7th, 20107 Pages
TA: Kevin Lord
Paper I: The Iliad and the World of the Ancient Greeks
To have the utmost strength and courage in times of adversity and despair is to possess the Greek ideal of arête. This is a notion of excellence ultimately connected with the fulfillment of purpose. In Homers epic, The Iliad, Achilles embodies the arête trait very well. Achilles is referred to as strong, swift and god like, he is the great runner and most powerful warrior of the Achaeans. Homer introduces his subject with the first word, in the first sentence, “Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,…show more content…
Achilles challenges the Greek idea of arête through his pride. People who are seen as heroic in this Greek fashion are those who never back down they fulfill their purpose. Achilles backs down and goes against what a real Greek hero may do.
The almighty Achilles is a tremendous warrior however he is also seen as being self-conscious, he lacks integrity to his pride. Achilles is part of a raid on a Trojan allied town. He captures a woman named Briseis and Agamemnon, the army commander, captures Chryseis. After a plague on the Achaeans caused by the capturing of Chryseis, Agamemnon returns her and in return demands Briseis. Achilles becomes very upset and acts on his pride. He threatens to leave the army and not join in battle. Achilles decides to make a speech making his decision on going to battle. Before doing so he makes sure that it is known he is not making a decision just because of his business with Agamemnon. He says “Mother tells me, the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet, that two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies.” (Bk. 9, lns, 498-505) Achilles has a lot to weigh out he has issues with Agamemnon and has his future foreseen. The decision he has to make is truly between life and glory. This is his true test of his arête. He is
Achilles as a Hero Essay
659 Words3 Pages
Achilles, having been a famed and valiant soldier, was sought after and loved by all, except his adversary Agamemnon. He was a prominent warrior known for his great strength that actually caused the Acheans to win many battles. But what was it that caused Achilles to be such a hero? Consider the definition for the word, “hero.” A hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” This gallant warrior is all three of these points in the definition, plus more. Achilles’ honorable attitude for his loved ones, bravery in times of adversity, and as the definition states, “outstanding achievements” make him a hero beyond recognition.
Living in a difficult age full of war and death,…show more content…
Although Achilles was quite outraged at this, he gave a respectful response, stating that he would drop out of the war because Agamemnon had dishonored him. Later, the Trojans killed Patroclus, Achilles’ dearest and most trusted friend. Achilles was overcome with grief, but realized how stubborn and selfish he was being by dropping out of the war. He decided that he had to join the war once again to honor Patroclus. He told his mother, “Enough. Let bygones be bygones. Done is done. Despite my anguish I will beat it down, the fury mounting inside me, down by force. But now I’ll go and meet that murderer head-on, that Hector who destroyed the dearest life I know.” It is clear that he knew that in those ancient times, a real hero avenged the death of a dear friend, and would sacrifice his own life to save the dead body and give it a proper burial.
The fact that Achilles had bravery in times of adversity shows that he should be given glory as a hero. In spite of the fact that Patroclus had died, and it was immensely hard for him to accept the loss of his friend, Achilles decided that Patroclus would have wanted him to be courageous. Achilles rejoined the war, resolved to kill those that had killed his beloved friend. He was not afraid of dying or being badly wounded, but he wanted to make up for his impulsive absence in the war.
Achilles had many great accomplishments in the war, proving he showed his venture for arete1. One must not forgot how important glory