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Heroism In The Iliad Essay

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Реферат - Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay - Иностранный язык

Heroes are defined by their humanity. Only after Achilles accepts his fate and comes to terms with his own mortality does he regain his humanity, and only then can he be considered a hero.

The Iliad opens with the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, (Iliad 1.1) and closes with the burial of Hector breaker of horses (Iliad 24.944). The bracketing of the poem with descriptions of these two men suggests both their importance and their connection to one another. They lead parallel lives as the top fighters in their respective armies, and, as the poem progresses, their lives and deaths become more and more closely linked. They each struggle to fulfill the heroic ideal, and they both grapple with temptations that lure them away from heroism. While Hector embodies the human heroic ideal, Achilles strives to surpass human heroism to achieve some identification with the divine. These delusions of grandeur diminish Achilles greatly; despite his efforts he can never be immortal, and a mortal god, besides being an oxymoron, would be decidedly pitiful.

Achilles heroism, therefore, is incumbent on his acceptance of his humanity. Achilles entangles Hector in his struggle to come to terms with his own mortality by recognizing himself in his enemy. Hector comes to represent the humanity of Achilles, against which Achilles rebels and which he tries to destroy in his desire to be immortal. Their fates are therefore linked, and the death of the one necessitates the death of the other. In finally giving over Hector s body to Priam, Achilles is at his most heroic; for in this action he accepts his fate, his mortality, and his humanity.

The two men are lured away from heroism in opposite directions; Hector, by his connections to home and family, and Achilles, by his connections to the gods. To be a hero is to sacrifice one’s own personal and familial ties in favor of facing death and striving for glory. In the poem, Hector is repeatedly tempted to abandon the front lines of battle against the Achaeans and to defend his city from within its walls. He is also very attached to his wife, Andromache, the rest of his family, and the entire city of Troy. When he travels into Troy to fetch Paris, he makes a deliberate detour to visit his family and they bid him to remain within the city walls. But although he loves his family intensely, he resists the temptation to remain with them. He says that he must answer the call to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory, glory for myself (Iliad 6.527-29). He is determined to stay on the path of the hero, but it is very difficult for him to resist the pull of his loved ones. Just before his fatal encounter with Achilles, he is almost swayed by his family to stay within the walls of Troy. Why debate, my friend? Why thrash things out? he asks himself (Iliad 22.146). Hector is constantly torn between heroism and familial ties, but he finally chooses the path of glory as he turns to face Achilles, his murderer.

Achilles, on the other hand, strays from the way of the hero by denying his mortality and fancying himself a god. He is, after all, the son of a goddess. But Thetis could not endow her son with immortality, only with greatness. Achilles attitude towards the battles taking place just outside his ship is reminiscent of how the immortal gods react to the battles. For most of the poem, he sits back from the fighting and observes it from afar. When the members of the embassy come to entice him back into the battle, they find him delighting his heart now on the fine lyre (Iliad 9.223-24), which is a very relaxed and decadent activity considering that there is a war going on. The way that Achilles asks Zeus, through his mother, to pin the Achaeans back against their ships, trap them round the bay and mow them down (Iliad 1.486-87) is indicative of a god-like lack of reverence for human life, even the for the lives of his comrades. Hera exhibits this sort of indifference when she makes her deal with Zeus. She gives Zeus permission to raze the walls (Iliad 4.65) of her three most favorite cities in return for letting her destroy Troy.

In his attempt to become superhuman, then, Achilles instead becomes inhuman. Achilles most desperately tries to deny his mortality in his rampage against the Trojans. He arms himself in new armor specially made for him by Hephaestus, which can be worn and gazed upon only by him. The other Myrmidons, Achilles own men, were afraid of it, none dared to look straight at the glare, each fighter shrank away (Iliad 19.17-18). Achilles says, only immortal gods could forge such work, no man on earth could ever bring it off! Now, by heaven, I ll arm and go to war (Iliad 19.25-27). His disdain for everything human, then, is exhibited in the fact that he will only wear armor commissioned especially for him by the gods.

Achilles’ rampage is also decidedly inhuman (Iliad 20.555). It is described in these terms over and over again, as he fights like a frenzied god (Iliad 21.21), like something superhuman (Iliad 21.256). The nature of the rampage is indeed very inhuman and unheroic. Instead of approaching each opponent with respect and honor for their lineage, Achilles kills indiscriminately insane to hack more flesh (Iliad 21.37). Here again he shows a disregard for the value of human life. He kills so many people that he clogs up the movement of the river Scamander. His motto during this time is Die, Trojans, die till I butcher all the way to sacred Troy (Iliad 21.146-147). This sentiment is reminiscent of the killing style of Ares, the god of war. Human life means little to him, and he revels in the joys of killing. In striving to be immortal, Achilles even boasts to Apollo, I d pay you back if I only had the power at my command (Iliad 22.24-25). Achilles thus shows in his actions and his words a misguided attempt to approach godliness by denying his humanity. But alas, his attempts are in vain.

As Achilles’ initial, mortal armor changes hands from Achilles to Patroclus to Hector, so shifts the representation of Achilles’ humanity. This armor represents his family ties and his conception because it was given to his father, Peleus, on the day of his marriage to Thetis. Achilles endows Patroclus with his humanity, then, when he gives Patroclus his armor. Achilles is comfortable with bestowing this representation of himself on his comrade because he feels that Patroclus is almost a reflection of himself. The two grew up together as brothers in Peleus house; they spend their lives together, and they will be together in death, for Patroclus shade tells Achilles, let a single urn. hold our bones together (Iliad 23.109-110). Achilles sees his friend as a fully human reflection of himself, while Achilles has a touch of the divine. Achilles is trying to distance himself from his humanity, and therefore his mortality, by sending his friend out to battle in his armor.

When Hector kills Patroclus, strips him of his armor, and dons it himself, Hector takes on the representation of Achilles humanity. In mourning for the death of Patroclus, Achilles mourns not only for the loss of his friend, but also for the theft of his armor. He says I ve lost him Hector s killed him, stripped the gigantic armor off his back, a marvel to behold my burnished gear (18.96-98). When Achilles faces Hector in single combat, it appears as though he is fighting himself, for he sees Hector in his own, human armor.

In this way, Achilles fury at Hector is a misplaced rage against his own mortality. Hector embodies all of the human ties such as family and citizenship that Achilles rebels against. Achilles rages against the prospect of mortality, which has become embodied in his enemy, a very human hero. Killing Hector is Achilles last desperate attempt to stomp out his own mortality. His efforts are, of course, in vain; his humanity cannot be killed because it is an essential part of him. He still tries to kill his humanity even after Hector s death. He was bent on outrage, on shaming noble Hector (Iliad 22.466) almost immediately after he kills his enemy. He defiles Hector s body almost obsessively. He continues to abuse Hector s body many days after the life has left it because he is still trying to conquer the mortality that it represents.

On the occasion of Priam s visit, Achilles finally gives over Hector s body, and therefore gives himself over to death. Since Achilles identifies himself with Hector, in putting Hector on the funeral pyre he is finally accepting his own mortality. Achilles lifted Hector up in his own arms and laid him down on a bier (Iliad 24.691-92). He does not leave this job for one of his servants or friends, but personally makes the decision to give the body to Priam. In giving Hector up for a proper burial, it is as if he is giving himself up for his own funeral. Once he gives himself up to death, and ceases to reach for the divine, he suddenly becomes very human. He engages in such basic human necessities as food, sleep, and sex. In the last mention of Achilles, we are acutely aware of his humanness, as he sleeps with Briseis in all her beauty sleeping by his side (Iliad 24.793-94). Achilles finally recognizes his humanity in the surrender of Hector’s body because this action is a symbolic surrender of his rebellion against his own mortality.

Hector’s funeral, then, can be seen as a representation of Achilles funeral, for the fates of these two heroes are linked. We do not see Achilles death in the poem, but we are certain of its prompt occurrence, for we see the burial of Hector who has become a reflection of Achilles. By accepting his own death, Achilles finally becomes a hero. His heroism is so great because, unlike other men, the measure of his heroism does not lie in the status of the people he kills, but in the action of giving up Hector s body. The murder of Hector is not Achilles greatest moment, but only one step in attaining his heroism. He diverges so greatly from the heroic, that in the moment when he finally accepts his mortality, his heroism is immense.

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Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay

Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay

Heroes are defined by their humanity. Only after Achilles accepts his fate and comes to terms with his own mortality does he regain his humanity, and only then can he be considered a hero.

The Iliad opens with the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, (Iliad 1.1) and closes with the burial of Hector breaker of horses (Iliad 24.944). The bracketing of the poem with descriptions of these two men suggests both their importance and their connection to one another. They lead parallel lives as the top fighters in their respective armies, and, as the poem progresses, their lives and deaths become more and more closely linked. They each struggle to fulfill the heroic ideal, and they both grapple with temptations that lure them away from heroism. While Hector embodies the human heroic ideal, Achilles strives to surpass human heroism to achieve some identification with the divine. These delusions of grandeur diminish Achilles greatly; despite his efforts he can never be immortal, and a mortal god, besides being an oxymoron, would be decidedly pitiful.

Achilles heroism, therefore, is incumbent on his acceptance of his humanity. Achilles entangles Hector in his struggle to come to terms with his own mortality by recognizing himself in his enemy. Hector comes to represent the humanity of Achilles, against which Achilles rebels and which he tries to destroy in his desire to be immortal. Their fates are therefore linked, and the death of the one necessitates the death of the other. In finally giving over Hector s body to Priam, Achilles is at his most heroic; for in this action he accepts his fate, his mortality, and his humanity.

The two men are lured away from heroism in opposite directions; Hector, by his connections to home and family, and Achilles, by his connections to the gods. To be a hero is to sacrifice one’s own personal and familial ties in favor of facing death and striving for glory. In the poem, Hector is repeatedly tempted to abandon the front lines of battle against the Achaeans and to defend his city from within its walls. He is also very attached to his wife, Andromache, the rest of his family, and the entire city of Troy. When he travels into Troy to fetch Paris, he makes a deliberate detour to visit his family and they bid him to remain within the city walls. But although he loves his family intensely, he resists the temptation to remain with them. He says that he must answer the call to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory, glory for myself (Iliad 6.527-29). He is determined to stay on the path of the hero, but it is very difficult for him to resist the pull of his loved ones. Just before his fatal encounter with Achilles, he is almost swayed by his family to stay within the walls of Troy. Why debate, my friend? Why thrash things out? he asks himself (Iliad 22.146). Hector is constantly torn between heroism and familial ties, but he finally chooses the path of glory as he turns to face Achilles, his murderer.

Achilles, on the other hand, strays from the way of the hero by denying his mortality and fancying himself a god. He is, after all, the son of a goddess. But Thetis could not endow her son with immortality, only with greatness. Achilles attitude towards the battles taking place just outside his ship is reminiscent of how the immortal gods react to the battles. For most of the poem, he sits back from the fighting and observes it from afar. When the members of the embassy come to entice him back into the battle, they find him delighting his heart now on the fine lyre (Iliad 9.223-24), which is a very relaxed and decadent activity considering that there is a war going on. The way that Achilles asks Zeus, through his mother, to pin the Achaeans back against their ships, trap them round the bay and mow them down (Iliad 1.486-87) is indicative of a god-like lack of reverence for human life, even the for the lives of his comrades. Hera exhibits this sort of indifference when she makes her deal with Zeus. She gives Zeus permission to raze the walls (Iliad 4.65) of her three most favorite cities in return for letting her destroy Troy.

In his attempt to become superhuman, then, Achilles instead becomes inhuman. Achilles most desperately tries to deny his mortality in his rampage against the Trojans. He arms himself in new armor specially made for him by Hephaestus, which can be worn and gazed upon only by him. The other Myrmidons, Achilles own men, were afraid of it, none dared to look straight at the glare, each fighter shrank away (Iliad 19.17-18). Achilles says, only immortal gods could forge such work, no man on earth could ever bring it off! Now, by heaven, I ll arm and go to war (Iliad 19.25-27). His disdain for everything human, then, is exhibited in the fact that he will only wear armor commissioned especially for him by the gods.

Achilles’ rampage is also decidedly inhuman (Iliad 20.555). It is described in these terms over and over again, as he fights like a frenzied god (Iliad 21.21), like some

thing superhuman (Iliad 21.256). The nature of the rampage is indeed very inhuman and unheroic. Instead of approaching each opponent with respect and honor for their lineage, Achilles kills indiscriminately insane to hack more flesh (Iliad 21.37). Here again he shows a disregard for the value of human life. He kills so many people that he clogs up the movement of the river Scamander. His motto during this time is Die, Trojans, die till I butcher all the way to sacred Troy (Iliad 21.146-147). This sentiment is reminiscent of the killing style of Ares, the god of war. Human life means little to him, and he revels in the joys of killing. In striving to be immortal, Achilles even boasts to Apollo, I d pay you back if I only had the power at my command (Iliad 22.24-25). Achilles thus shows in his actions and his words a misguided attempt to approach godliness by denying his humanity. But alas, his attempts are in vain.

As Achilles’ initial, mortal armor changes hands from Achilles to Patroclus to Hector, so shifts the representation of Achilles’ humanity. This armor represents his family ties and his conception because it was given to his father, Peleus, on the day of his marriage to Thetis. Achilles endows Patroclus with his humanity, then, when he gives Patroclus his armor. Achilles is comfortable with bestowing this representation of himself on his comrade because he feels that Patroclus is almost a reflection of himself. The two grew up together as brothers in Peleus house; they spend their lives together, and they will be together in death, for Patroclus shade tells Achilles, let a single urn. hold our bones together (Iliad 23.109-110). Achilles sees his friend as a fully human reflection of himself, while Achilles has a touch of the divine. Achilles is trying to distance himself from his humanity, and therefore his mortality, by sending his friend out to battle in his armor.

When Hector kills Patroclus, strips him of his armor, and dons it himself, Hector takes on the representation of Achilles humanity. In mourning for the death of Patroclus, Achilles mourns not only for the loss of his friend, but also for the theft of his armor. He says I ve lost him Hector s killed him, stripped the gigantic armor off his back, a marvel to behold my burnished gear (18.96-98). When Achilles faces Hector in single combat, it appears as though he is fighting himself, for he sees Hector in his own, human armor.

In this way, Achilles fury at Hector is a misplaced rage against his own mortality. Hector embodies all of the human ties such as family and citizenship that Achilles rebels against. Achilles rages against the prospect of mortality, which has become embodied in his enemy, a very human hero. Killing Hector is Achilles last desperate attempt to stomp out his own mortality. His efforts are, of course, in vain; his humanity cannot be killed because it is an essential part of him. He still tries to kill his humanity even after Hector s death. He was bent on outrage, on shaming noble Hector (Iliad 22.466) almost immediately after he kills his enemy. He defiles Hector s body almost obsessively. He continues to abuse Hector s body many days after the life has left it because he is still trying to conquer the mortality that it represents.

On the occasion of Priam s visit, Achilles finally gives over Hector s body, and therefore gives himself over to death. Since Achilles identifies himself with Hector, in putting Hector on the funeral pyre he is finally accepting his own mortality. Achilles lifted Hector up in his own arms and laid him down on a bier (Iliad 24.691-92). He does not leave this job for one of his servants or friends, but personally makes the decision to give the body to Priam. In giving Hector up for a proper burial, it is as if he is giving himself up for his own funeral. Once he gives himself up to death, and ceases to reach for the divine, he suddenly becomes very human. He engages in such basic human necessities as food, sleep, and sex. In the last mention of Achilles, we are acutely aware of his humanness, as he sleeps with Briseis in all her beauty sleeping by his side (Iliad 24.793-94). Achilles finally recognizes his humanity in the surrender of Hector’s body because this action is a symbolic surrender of his rebellion against his own mortality.

Hector’s funeral, then, can be seen as a representation of Achilles funeral, for the fates of these two heroes are linked. We do not see Achilles death in the poem, but we are certain of its prompt occurrence, for we see the burial of Hector who has become a reflection of Achilles. By accepting his own death, Achilles finally becomes a hero. His heroism is so great because, unlike other men, the measure of his heroism does not lie in the status of the people he kills, but in the action of giving up Hector s body. The murder of Hector is not Achilles greatest moment, but only one step in attaining his heroism. He diverges so greatly from the heroic, that in the moment when he finally accepts his mortality, his heroism is immense.

Homeric Hero Essay Research Paper The Iliad

The Iliad outlines and explains the qualities of a ?Homeric Hero. The Homeric hero strives to be the best among his peers. His goal is to achieve the greatest glory in order to earn the highest honor from his peers, his commander, and finally from his warrior society. This is because honor is the Greeks? main ambition in life as well as in the afterlife. The Homeric hero strives for excellence in particular areas of human behavior, such as strength, skill, and determination. These are necessary on the both the athletic fields and the battlefields. The Homeric hero judges his own merit and honor based on what his warrior society thinks of him. How well he will be remembered and honored after his death is determined by how well he fights, how his heroic adversity is, and how well he faces death. He feels that society?s view of him is more important than is own view. He chooses to act in a way that will make him acquire the public approval that he needs in order to have one of the basic needs, which is self-esteem. The greatest insult to a Homeric hero is to withhold the honor that he has earned. The honor that he would not have received would be from a battle, or being judged a loser in a competition he should have won. The highest and most honored prize is called the prize of honor. In the Iliad this prize is the best female captive, best meaning the most attractive, intelligent, and skilled. The most absolute honor is everlasting fame. The Homeric hero is placed lower than the gods, but higher than the ordinary man. Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, and Paris are considered Homeric heroes. Achilles acts childish when he does not receive the appropriate prize. He is upset that he did not receive a great prize as Agamemnon did. Achilles had worked so hard and Agamemnon had taken the credit for it and gotten the better prize. Hector is considered a Homeric hero because he chooses between life and death. He chooses even though an honorable death will bring the immortality of everlasting fame. His death is in the hands of Achilles. This shows that Achilles is the greater warrior and Hector is the greater man.

The function of the gods is to participate in giving advice to mortals. The advice is both good and bad. It supplies thoughts and ideas, strength and skill, courage and determination, and on top of all this causes weapons to hit or miss their marks. The Homeric gods have favorites among the mortals and make efforts to help those that they favor. A mortal is able to earn divine esteem and honor by the way he treats both the gods and other mortals. The gods are partial to heroes because they appreciate and enjoy their heroic deeds. The gods could not change a mortal?s life or death situation. If one was going to die, they could not change their fate. The Homeric gods are ageless and immortal. The gods possess a great deal of knowledge about the future. The gods are influenced by the request of others? prayers. Achilles? mother, the sea goddess Thetis, did not want to accept the fact that her son Achilles was going to die someday because he was half mortal. When Achilles was an infant, Thetis tried to burn away his mortality by secretly putting him in a fire. Peleus, Achilles? father found out about this and was outraged. Thetis was very upset and angry at his reaction so she left him to go back and live at her home in the sea. She had left Achilles with his father until she would one day return. One night, Thetis took Achilles down to the River Styx in the Underworld. She then held him by his heel and dipped him into the water. Every part that the river water touched on his body is where he would not be injured. The only way that Achilles could then be killed was if he was wounded on the back of one heel. Due to Thetis doing this, other warriors knew where Achilles? weakness was and soon his life was taken away.

Every hero wishes for honor because honor is the most extraordinary prize. Hector looked for honor from his countrymen. He went to battle knowing that he was going to die. He did not turn around and run away, he kept his promise to help them to win the war. Hector wanted to be honored by no one else except his warrior society. Paris looked for honor within hubris. The feeling of hubris would lead the hero to think that he was greater than the heroes who were his peers and that he had the limitless power that he attributed to the gods. On account of what Paris did for the goddess Aphrodite, he thinks that he is a gift to the world. Paris thinks that he is better than the other heroes. He causes trouble and doesn?t even have to fight his own battles; he has his warriors there for that. Agamemnon is interested in nothing but materialistic honor. He wanted the best prizes, the best respect, and the best of everything. He didn?t care much about anything. That is what made him so different from all of the other heroes. He worshiped materialistic things, and everyone else worshiped honor that you cannot see. Achilles found honor within his rash behavior. This would eventually lead to vengeance. The gods would sometimes punish the hero directly, and sometimes other human beings would punish him. Achilles wanted the people of Greece to bow down to him. He wanted to hear the people say that they needed his help. He wanted to hear that they needed him, and that is why he stayed out of the war. To Achilles hearing this meant that his people honored him. He was a greatly respected man and warrior. He first shows this trait when he calls the Achaians to assembly. Achilles spoke up for his people against the son of Atreus saying “I believe now that straggling backwards we must make our way home if we can even escape death, if fighting now must crush the Achaians and the plague likewise”(Book 1. lines 59-61). By defeating Agamemnon, Achilles proves to be the greatest Achaian soldier and the most respected. Therefore, he is the most notable Homeric hero in this epic.

Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay

Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay, Research Paper

Heroes are defined by their humanity. Only after Achilles accepts his fate and comes to terms with his own mortality does he regain his humanity, and only then can he be considered a hero.

The Iliad opens with the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, (Iliad 1.1) and closes with the burial of Hector breaker of horses (Iliad 24.944). The bracketing of the poem with descriptions of these two men suggests both their importance and their connection to one another. They lead parallel lives as the top fighters in their respective armies, and, as the poem progresses, their lives and deaths become more and more closely linked. They each struggle to fulfill the heroic ideal, and they both grapple with temptations that lure them away from heroism. While Hector embodies the human heroic ideal, Achilles strives to surpass human heroism to achieve some identification with the divine. These delusions of grandeur diminish Achilles greatly; despite his efforts he can never be immortal, and a mortal god, besides being an oxymoron, would be decidedly pitiful.

Achilles heroism, therefore, is incumbent on his acceptance of his humanity. Achilles entangles Hector in his struggle to come to terms with his own mortality by recognizing himself in his enemy. Hector comes to represent the humanity of Achilles, against which Achilles rebels and which he tries to destroy in his desire to be immortal. Their fates are therefore linked, and the death of the one necessitates the death of the other. In finally giving over Hector s body to Priam, Achilles is at his most heroic; for in this action he accepts his fate, his mortality, and his humanity.

The two men are lured away from heroism in opposite directions; Hector, by his connections to home and family, and Achilles, by his connections to the gods. To be a hero is to sacrifice one’s own personal and familial ties in favor of facing death and striving for glory. In the poem, Hector is repeatedly tempted to abandon the front lines of battle against the Achaeans and to defend his city from within its walls. He is also very attached to his wife, Andromache, the rest of his family, and the entire city of Troy. When he travels into Troy to fetch Paris, he makes a deliberate detour to visit his family and they bid him to remain within the city walls. But although he loves his family intensely, he resists the temptation to remain with them. He says that he must answer the call to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory, glory for myself (Iliad 6.527-29). He is determined to stay on the path of the hero, but it is very difficult for him to resist the pull of his loved ones. Just before his fatal encounter with Achilles, he is almost swayed by his family to stay within the walls of Troy. Why debate, my friend? Why thrash things out? he asks himself (Iliad 22.146). Hector is constantly torn between heroism and familial ties, but he finally chooses the path of glory as he turns to face Achilles, his murderer.

Achilles, on the other hand, strays from the way of the hero by denying his mortality and fancying himself a god. He is, after all, the son of a goddess. But Thetis could not endow her son with immortality, only with greatness. Achilles attitude towards the battles taking place just outside his ship is reminiscent of how the immortal gods react to the battles. For most of the poem, he sits back from the fighting and observes it from afar. When the members of the embassy come to entice him back into the battle, they find him delighting his heart now on the fine lyre (Iliad 9.223-24), which is a very relaxed and decadent activity considering that there is a war going on. The way that Achilles asks Zeus, through his mother, to pin the Achaeans back against their ships, trap them round the bay and mow them down (Iliad 1.486-87) is indicative of a god-like lack of reverence for human life, even the for the lives of his comrades. Hera exhibits this sort of indifference when she makes her deal with Zeus. She gives Zeus permission to raze the walls (Iliad 4.65) of her three most favorite cities in return for letting her destroy Troy.

In his attempt to become superhuman, then, Achilles instead becomes inhuman. Achilles most desperately tries to deny his mortality in his rampage against the Trojans. He arms himself in new armor specially made for him by Hephaestus, which can be worn and gazed upon only by him. The other Myrmidons, Achilles own men, were afraid of it, none dared to look straight at the glare, each fighter shrank away (Iliad 19.17-18). Achilles says, only immortal gods could forge such work, no man on earth could ever bring it off! Now, by heaven, I ll arm and go to war (Iliad 19.25-27). His disdain for everything human, then, is exhibited in the fact that he will only wear armor commissioned especially for him by the gods.

Achilles’ rampage is also decidedly inhuman (Iliad 20.555). It is described in these terms over and over again, as he fights like a frenzied god (Iliad 21.21), like something superhuman (Iliad 21.256). The nature of the rampage is indeed very inhuman and unheroic. Instead of approaching each opponent with respect and honor for their lineage, Achilles kills indiscriminately insane to hack more flesh (Iliad 21.37). Here again he shows a disregard for the value of human life. He kills so many people that he clogs up the movement of the river Scamander. His motto during this time is Die, Trojans, die till I butcher all the way to sacred Troy (Iliad 21.146-147). This sentiment is reminiscent of the killing style of Ares, the god of war. Human life means little to him, and he revels in the joys of killing. In striving to be immortal, Achilles even boasts to Apollo, I d pay you back if I only had the power at my command (Iliad 22.24-25). Achilles thus shows in his actions and his words a misguided attempt to approach godliness by denying his humanity. But alas, his attempts are in vain.

As Achilles’ initial, mortal armor changes hands from Achilles to Patroclus to Hector, so shifts the representation of Achilles’ humanity. This armor represents his family ties and his conception because it was given to his father, Peleus, on the day of his marriage to Thetis. Achilles endows Patroclus with his humanity, then, when he gives Patroclus his armor. Achilles is comfortable with bestowing this representation of himself on his comrade because he feels that Patroclus is almost a reflection of himself. The two grew up together as brothers in Peleus house; they spend their lives together, and they will be together in death, for Patroclus shade tells Achilles, let a single urn. hold our bones together (Iliad 23.109-110). Achilles sees his friend as a fully human reflection of himself, while Achilles has a touch of the divine. Achilles is trying to distance himself from his humanity, and therefore his mortality, by sending his friend out to battle in his armor.

When Hector kills Patroclus, strips him of his armor, and dons it himself, Hector takes on the representation of Achilles humanity. In mourning for the death of Patroclus, Achilles mourns not only for the loss of his friend, but also for the theft of his armor. He says I ve lost him Hector s killed him, stripped the gigantic armor off his back, a marvel to behold my burnished gear (18.96-98). When Achilles faces Hector in single combat, it appears as though he is fighting himself, for he sees Hector in his own, human armor.

In this way, Achilles fury at Hector is a misplaced rage against his own mortality. Hector embodies all of the human ties such as family and citizenship that Achilles rebels against. Achilles rages against the prospect of mortality, which has become embodied in his enemy, a very human hero. Killing Hector is Achilles last desperate attempt to stomp out his own mortality. His efforts are, of course, in vain; his humanity cannot be killed because it is an essential part of him. He still tries to kill his humanity even after Hector s death. He was bent on outrage, on shaming noble Hector (Iliad 22.466) almost immediately after he kills his enemy. He defiles Hector s body almost obsessively. He continues to abuse Hector s body many days after the life has left it because he is still trying to conquer the mortality that it represents.

On the occasion of Priam s visit, Achilles finally gives over Hector s body, and therefore gives himself over to death. Since Achilles identifies himself with Hector, in putting Hector on the funeral pyre he is finally accepting his own mortality. Achilles lifted Hector up in his own arms and laid him down on a bier (Iliad 24.691-92). He does not leave this job for one of his servants or friends, but personally makes the decision to give the body to Priam. In giving Hector up for a proper burial, it is as if he is giving himself up for his own funeral. Once he gives himself up to death, and ceases to reach for the divine, he suddenly becomes very human. He engages in such basic human necessities as food, sleep, and sex. In the last mention of Achilles, we are acutely aware of his humanness, as he sleeps with Briseis in all her beauty sleeping by his side (Iliad 24.793-94). Achilles finally recognizes his humanity in the surrender of Hector’s body because this action is a symbolic surrender of his rebellion against his own mortality.

Hector’s funeral, then, can be seen as a representation of Achilles funeral, for the fates of these two heroes are linked. We do not see Achilles death in the poem, but we are certain of its prompt occurrence, for we see the burial of Hector who has become a reflection of Achilles. By accepting his own death, Achilles finally becomes a hero. His heroism is so great because, unlike other men, the measure of his heroism does not lie in the status of the people he kills, but in the action of giving up Hector s body. The murder of Hector is not Achilles greatest moment, but only one step in attaining his heroism. He diverges so greatly from the heroic, that in the moment when he finally accepts his mortality, his heroism is immense.

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In the poem, the Iliad, many of the evens that are shown are based on honor and pride. The warriors in battle seem to base their decisions on how much respect would be given unto them if they act in a particular way. Two of the prevalent figures that possess this attitude are Achilles and Hector. What drives both fighters is the notion of an ambiguous set of noble rules called the "Heroic Code.  This set of undefined rules is what Greek and Trojan warriors alike try to utilize when in battle. I will show in this paper that while both Achilles and Hector use the Heroic Code to shape their decisions, they act in distinctly different ways. This is because of their different interpretations of this undefined code. While Achilles is brutal in battle and callous to his emotions, Hector uses some emotion to shape his decisions.

Throughout the poem, Achilles is reminded of his destiny to be killed in battle and not return home to Greece. Although he senses his demise, Achilles does not remove himself from the battles because of his notion that he will be killed. While he does not start fighting until the end, it is only because of his anger against Agamemnon. After Achilles discovers that Patroclus is dead, he readily pursues combat. He tears through the Greek lines to get to the front of the battle and starts slaughtering every Trojan that walks in his path. It seems that according to Achilles' version of the Heroic Code, this revenge appears to correspond, although it seems that he possesses coldhearted rage to modern readers. To Achilles, his brutal vengeance relates completely with his notion of the Heroic Code.

In contrast, Hector sees his imminent death, but regrets having to face it. In book six, his wife, Andromache, predicts his death.

"Possessed is what you are, Hector. Your courage

Is going to kill you, and you have no feeling left

For your little boy of for me, the luckless woman

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Реферат: Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay

Heroism Through Humanity In The Iliad Essay

Heroes are defined by their humanity. Only after Achilles accepts his fate and comes to terms with his own mortality does he regain his humanity, and only then can he be considered a hero.

The Iliad opens with the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, (Iliad 1.1) and closes with the burial of Hector breaker of horses (Iliad 24.944). The bracketing of the poem with descriptions of these two men suggests both their importance and their connection to one another. They lead parallel lives as the top fighters in their respective armies, and, as the poem progresses, their lives and deaths become more and more closely linked. They each struggle to fulfill the heroic ideal, and they both grapple with temptations that lure them away from heroism. While Hector embodies the human heroic ideal, Achilles strives to surpass human heroism to achieve some identification with the divine. These delusions of grandeur diminish Achilles greatly; despite his efforts he can never be immortal, and a mortal god, besides being an oxymoron, would be decidedly pitiful.

Achilles heroism, therefore, is incumbent on his acceptance of his humanity. Achilles entangles Hector in his struggle to come to terms with his own mortality by recognizing himself in his enemy. Hector comes to represent the humanity of Achilles, against which Achilles rebels and which he tries to destroy in his desire to be immortal. Their fates are therefore linked, and the death of the one necessitates the death of the other. In finally giving over Hector s body to Priam, Achilles is at his most heroic; for in this action he accepts his fate, his mortality, and his humanity.

The two men are lured away from heroism in opposite directions; Hector, by his connections to home and family, and Achilles, by his connections to the gods. To be a hero is to sacrifice one’s own personal and familial ties in favor of facing death and striving for glory. In the poem, Hector is repeatedly tempted to abandon the front lines of battle against the Achaeans and to defend his city from within its walls. He is also very attached to his wife, Andromache, the rest of his family, and the entire city of Troy. When he travels into Troy to fetch Paris, he makes a deliberate detour to visit his family and they bid him to remain within the city walls. But although he loves his family intensely, he resists the temptation to remain with them. He says that he must answer the call to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory, glory for myself (Iliad 6.527-29). He is determined to stay on the path of the hero, but it is very difficult for him to resist the pull of his loved ones. Just before his fatal encounter with Achilles, he is almost swayed by his family to stay within the walls of Troy. Why debate, my friend? Why thrash things out? he asks himself (Iliad 22.146). Hector is constantly torn between heroism and familial ties, but he finally chooses the path of glory as he turns to face Achilles, his murderer.

Achilles, on the other hand, strays from the way of the hero by denying his mortality and fancying himself a god. He is, after all, the son of a goddess. But Thetis could not endow her son with immortality, only with greatness. Achilles attitude towards the battles taking place just outside his ship is reminiscent of how the immortal gods react to the battles. For most of the poem, he sits back from the fighting and observes it from afar. When the members of the embassy come to entice him back into the battle, they find him delighting his heart now on the fine lyre (Iliad 9.223-24), which is a very relaxed and decadent activity considering that there is a war going on. The way that Achilles asks Zeus, through his mother, to pin the Achaeans back against their ships, trap them round the bay and mow them down (Iliad 1.486-87) is indicative of a god-like lack of reverence for human life, even the for the lives of his comrades. Hera exhibits this sort of indifference when she makes her deal with Zeus. She gives Zeus permission to raze the walls (Iliad 4.65) of her three most favorite cities in return for letting her destroy Troy.

In his attempt to become superhuman, then, Achilles instead becomes inhuman. Achilles most desperately tries to deny his mortality in his rampage against the Trojans. He arms himself in new armor specially made for him by Hephaestus, which can be worn and gazed upon only by him. The other Myrmidons, Achilles own men, were afraid of it, none dared to look straight at the glare, each fighter shrank away (Iliad 19.17-18). Achilles says, only immortal gods could forge such work, no man on earth could ever bring it off! Now, by heaven, I ll arm and go to war (Iliad 19.25-27). His disdain for everything human, then, is exhibited in the fact that he will only wear armor commissioned especially for him by the gods.

Achilles’ rampage is also decidedly inhuman (Iliad 20.555). It is described in these terms over and over again, as he fights like a frenzied god (Iliad 21.21), like something superhuman (Iliad 21.256). The nature of the rampage is indeed very inhuman and unheroic. Instead of approaching each opponent with respect and honor for their lineage, Achilles kills indiscriminately insane to hack more flesh (Iliad 21.37). Here again he shows a disregard for the value of human life. He kills so many people that he clogs up the movement of the river Scamander. His motto during this time is Die, Trojans, die till I butcher all the way to sacred Troy (Iliad 21.146-147). This sentiment is reminiscent of the killing style of Ares, the god of war. Human life means little to him, and he revels in the joys of killing. In striving to be immortal, Achilles even boasts to Apollo, I d pay you back if I only had the power at my command (Iliad 22.24-25). Achilles thus shows in his actions and his words a misguided attempt to approach godliness by denying his humanity. But alas, his attempts are in vain.

As Achilles’ initial, mortal armor changes hands from Achilles to Patroclus to Hector, so shifts the representation of Achilles’ humanity. This armor represents his family ties and his conception because it was given to his father, Peleus, on the day of his marriage to Thetis. Achilles endows Patroclus with his humanity, then, when he gives Patroclus his armor. Achilles is comfortable with bestowing this representation of himself on his comrade because he feels that Patroclus is almost a reflection of himself. The two grew up together as brothers in Peleus house; they spend their lives together, and they will be together in death, for Patroclus shade tells Achilles, let a single urn. hold our bones together (Iliad 23.109-110). Achilles sees his friend as a fully human reflection of himself, while Achilles has a touch of the divine. Achilles is trying to distance himself from his humanity, and therefore his mortality, by sending his friend out to battle in his armor.

When Hector kills Patroclus, strips him of his armor, and dons it himself, Hector takes on the representation of Achilles humanity. In mourning for the death of Patroclus, Achilles mourns not only for the loss of his friend, but also for the theft of his armor. He says I ve lost him Hector s killed him, stripped the gigantic armor off his back, a marvel to behold my burnished gear (18.96-98). When Achilles faces Hector in single combat, it appears as though he is fighting himself, for he sees Hector in his own, human armor.

In this way, Achilles fury at Hector is a misplaced rage against his own mortality. Hector embodies all of the human ties such as family and citizenship that Achilles rebels against. Achilles rages against the prospect of mortality, which has become embodied in his enemy, a very human hero. Killing Hector is Achilles last desperate attempt to stomp out his own mortality. His efforts are, of course, in vain; his humanity cannot be killed because it is an essential part of him. He still tries to kill his humanity even after Hector s death. He was bent on outrage, on shaming noble Hector (Iliad 22.466) almost immediately after he kills his enemy. He defiles Hector s body almost obsessively. He continues to abuse Hector s body many days after the life has left it because he is still trying to conquer the mortality that it represents.

On the occasion of Priam s visit, Achilles finally gives over Hector s body, and therefore gives himself over to death. Since Achilles identifies himself with Hector, in putting Hector on the funeral pyre he is finally accepting his own mortality. Achilles lifted Hector up in his own arms and laid him down on a bier (Iliad 24.691-92). He does not leave this job for one of his servants or friends, but personally makes the decision to give the body to Priam. In giving Hector up for a proper burial, it is as if he is giving himself up for his own funeral. Once he gives himself up to death, and ceases to reach for the divine, he suddenly becomes very human. He engages in such basic human necessities as food, sleep, and sex. In the last mention of Achilles, we are acutely aware of his humanness, as he sleeps with Briseis in all her beauty sleeping by his side (Iliad 24.793-94). Achilles finally recognizes his humanity in the surrender of Hector’s body because this action is a symbolic surrender of his rebellion against his own mortality.

Hector’s funeral, then, can be seen as a representation of Achilles funeral, for the fates of these two heroes are linked. We do not see Achilles death in the poem, but we are certain of its prompt occurrence, for we see the burial of Hector who has become a reflection of Achilles. By accepting his own death, Achilles finally becomes a hero. His heroism is so great because, unlike other men, the measure of his heroism does not lie in the status of the people he kills, but in the action of giving up Hector s body. The murder of Hector is not Achilles greatest moment, but only one step in attaining his heroism. He diverges so greatly from the heroic, that in the moment when he finally accepts his mortality, his heroism is immense.