The Hero Of The Iliad Essay

1740 Words Sep 26th, 2016 7 Pages
“Leaving his friends in haste, Akhilleus [Achilles] wept, / and sat apart by the grey wave, scanning the endless sea. / Often he spread his hands in prayer to his mother:” When the readers first meet Achilles, he is in the midst of a situation which called for someone to step up and be a leader, or act like a hero. The situation does not turn out the way Achilles would have liked, and he responds in a less than heroic manner, weeping and essentially calling his mother. This was the first impression that young men of Athens got when reading about Achilles, and yet he was still regarded as a great hero of the Greeks. His actions do not seem heroic instantly, and for much of The Iliad, his actions do not align with today’s notion of heroism. When pitted against Hector, the hero for the Trojans, it is seemingly impossible to deem either one of these men a particular hero by the standards someone may use today.
There are thousands of definitions of a hero, but that which is accepted by Greek culture is inadequate. Greek myth asserts that “heroes were humans, male or female, of the remote past, endowed with superhuman abilities and descended from the immortal gods themselves.” One which is more satisfying is, “a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” This definition, minus the use of the second “or,” is much better. A hero is an individual who should encompass all three aspects of this…

Related Documents