Malala Yousafzai: A Modern Day Hero In Homer's The Iliad

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Ancient Greece was a society that honored great heroism, even though thousands of years have passed, the traits needed to be a hero have stayed constant. Malala Yousafzai possesses traits of a modern day hero that fights for the education of women in the highly patriarchal society of the Middle East. She was criticized for her viewpoint by the radical Taliban and shot her in the head. In the epic poem The Iliad by Homer, he focuses on two individuals that are viewed as great heroes in the war between Troy and Greece. Hector and Achilles are the greatest warriors of their respected sides and possess heroic traits of Ancient Greece. Although both men are considered heroes in The Iliad, Hector portrays more traits aligned with the modern day hero, …show more content…
Malala puts emphasis that she “speaks – not for [herself], but for all the girls and boys / [she] raises up [her] voice – not so that [she] can shout, but that those without a voice can be heard” (Malala). She makes it her responsibility to fight for women’s education in a place where women have been oppressed for centuries by a culture that enforces patriarchy. Malala makes her cause not only a local cause, but a global issue. Hector shows this same need to fight for others when he explains to his wife that he would “be disgraced, dreadfully shamed among Trojan men… If [he] should, like a coward, slink away from war” (Homer VI. 73-76). Hector and Malala demonstrate the heroic trait of selflessness by giving up their passion. Malala is not only giving up her childhood to fight for her cause but is also willing to give up her life, while Hector is willing to give up the security of his own family to fight for Troy. On the other hand, Achilles selfishly “sat down in anger alongside his swift ships. Not once [attending] assembly where men win glory, or go out to fight” (Homer I. 376-379). He rejects fighting for the cause for the selfish reason that Agamemnon took his prize away from him. It is extremely immature and unheroic like for Achilles to prioritize his passion for war prizes over his responsibility to his fellow soldier to serve alongside them. Hector …show more content…
By shooting Malala, the Taliban “thought that the bullets would silence her. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices…weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born” (Malala). Even after shooting her, Malala is still fighting for the rights of education. She has come back even more determined to gain educational rights for all and takes it on as a responsibility to the children that do not have that right. Likewise Hector faces enraged Achilles believing that “it would be a great deal better to meet Achilles man to man, kill him, and go home, or get killed before the city, dying in glory” (Homer XXII. 105-108). He is willing to give up his passion for life and all that it comes with to uphold his responsibility of protecting Troy. Malala and Hector both show determination by standing up to an enemy more powerful than they are. On the other hand Achilles asks his mother to “go to Mount Olympus, implore Zeus…so he’ll want to help the Trojans somehow…so the son Atreus, wide ruling Agamemnon, himself may see his foolishness” (Homer I. 329-339). Achilles is willing to allow the gods to go against his own army to make the point that he is the best soldier and the Greeks are nothing without him. He prioritizes his passion to get revenge on Agamemnon rather than his responsibility of fighting. Malala and

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