Comparing Homeric Heroes

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During the Homeric era there was a distinct type of hero that was consistently used in his epics. The Homeric hero consisted of an individual with two main qualities: a doer of deeds and a speaker of words. A doer of deeds was someone who was strong, brave, and skilled in fighting. A speaker of words was someone who was persuasive, clever, and reflected intelligence behind their worlds. A hero in the Dark Ages was not necessarily someone with supernatural powers, but rather someone with attainable characteristics that acted more as a role model to the people. This paper will demonstrate that although the heroes from the Odyssey and the Iliad had two of the same traits, they were also two very unique and different characters. Achilles and Odysseus were both speakers of words and doers of deeds, however their differences outweigh their similarities.

The Iliad is about the rage of Achilles. The first word of the epic, which is synonymous with the theme of the work, is “menin”, which means rage. The Iliad celebrates the glory of war and characters are judged by their bravery in battle. Paris, who sparked the Trojan War by abducting Helen, is scorned for his laziness in battle. On the other hand Achilles wins eternal glory by becoming a powerful war hero. The respected characters are those that chose military glory over a long life with loved ones. Achilles was presented with a choice between a long and happy life surrounded by those he loved, and a short-lived glorious life. He chose the glory and his name went down in history as a true hero for that decision.

The Odyssey is the story about the cunningness of Odysseus and his travels. In this work “andra”, or “the man”, is the first word. This indicates that it is an epic about a hero, Odysseus, and his many adventures. The Odyssey was based on theodicy, or justice of the God’s. The homecomings of the warriors were cursed because they offended the God’s. Because of that curse Odysseus had many...
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