Larger-Than-Life Heroes: Achilles and Odysseus
What are the main characteristics of a larger-than-life epic hero? An epic hero is a brave and powerful warrior who is motivated to fight both internal and external conflicts to achieve glory and ranks above a normal man. In Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey, Achilles and Odysseus are the well-known heroes. Achilles fights Hektor outside the walls of Troy because Hektor killed his best friend, Patroclus. After fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus takes on a journey to return back to Ithaca to see his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus. Through his use of tone, figurative language, mood, and imagery, Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey show how Achilles and Odysseus, despite their struggles with themselves and the world, are true heroes because of their motivation for glory and revenge.
Achilles and Odysseus are struggling to be viewed as tenacious warriors because of an empty place in their hearts. For instance, Agamemnon takes Achilles’ prize, Briseis, and exclaims “See how the lord of the great plains, Agamemnon, humiliated me! He has my prize, by his own whim, for himself” (Iliad. 1. 168-169). Achilles feels humiliated because Agamemnon took his prize, Briseis, away from him in order to return Chryseis. He still does not want to go to war after Agamemnon returns her. Achilles’ heart is aching and the thought of never seeing his prize again worries him. Homer uses mood to make the reader feel pity for Achilles. Even though Achilles treats Briseis as a prize, it is depressing that he does not have her in his arms. Achilles and Briseis fell in love with each other and were separated such as in a more modern movie called The Swan Princess. Homer makes it seem like Agamemnon is the villain while Achilles is the hero. Achilles’ internal conflict shows how he must cope with not having Briseis in his arms because he did not want to fight in the war. Even so, Odysseus...
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