Comparison Essay

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Bryan Byars
Mr. Shimon
Honors World Literature and Composition
11 October 2012
The Wise Old Man
Imagine if all the great young leaders had no advisors, no elderly sense of reality and experience. Agamemnon would have turned his back on Achilles, which would have resulted in the loss of not only his own life, but the loss of the Trojan War. King Théoden would have turned his back on Gondor, resulting in the imminent destruction of Middle Earth (wikia.com). In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is depicted as the wise old man, as Nestor is to the Achaian army in The Iliad. Though the two fictional worlds are very different, Gandalf and Nestor are still very comparable.

In the two famous works of literature and in many other great tales, the archetypal character of the wise old man comes up over and over again. The wise old man is an elderly man who was once great himself when he was young and is now an experienced advisor and warrior. He gives crucial advice in times of war and life changing decisions. In The Iliad Nestor is the voice of reason in the Achaian army. When Agamemnon is scolded by the god Apollo and he is forced to give up the beautiful priestess of Apollo, he attempts to take the treasure of Achilles. Nestor steps in to tell the great king that if he does so, he will lose his life and the greatest battle in history. Agamemnon, though a great leader himself, would have been lost without the advice of wisest man of the Achaian army (Homer). Although King Théoden is king of Rohan, Grima Wormtongue put the great leader under his spell. If it were not for the great wizard’s voice of reason, Sauron would have singed Rohan, Helm’s Deep, Gondor and possibly even Middle Earth (lord-of-the-rings.org). In this way both of these great old men are very similar.

Though both of these great men are very similar characters and serve almost the exact same purpose in their tales, they are different in many ways as well. In the past of the wisest man of the Achaian...
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