Greek and Roman Heroes

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Brianne Keil
HUM2210
October 15th, 2012
Interpretation Paper 2: The Warrior Hero
We all envision certain types of qualities when considering what defines a hero: strength, agility, rock hard abs, and often, Brad Pitt. But throughout the Greek and Roman literature, we see different types of qualifications in the composition of their heroes. Obviously, both the Greeks and the Romans think that they define a true hero in their versions of Heroic Epics, but which one of these cultures actually proves that they have what makes the ultimate hero? With some further research into these societies and their literature, we see that their heroes really aren’t that different after all.

In the Iliad, Homer targets the audience of Greek upper class men in order to spread some cultural propaganda to the nation. Homer captures audiences by using the hero of Achilles to show men what they should aim to be, and to show women what they should be looking for in a man. After the Dark Ages, Homer aims to bring some positive light to the Greeks with his “Epic Heroes”, which leads to inspire more than just the Greek men of this time frame. Homer uses his words to encourage strength, creating what is known as the Greek Heroic Age, dating from 1200 to 750 BC. The Iliad becomes known as the warrior code of personal honor and glory, demonstrating the culture and the qualities Greek men should strive to achieve. Achilles, the epic’s hero, is an elegant gentleman who knows his destiny in life is to battle. Achilles makes it a strong point that the aim of every hero is to achieve honor, even if this honor is only reached in death. Achilles knows that he has two fates: to either live a long life with no fame attributed to him, or to die as a well-known warrior across his land. Achilles demonstrates to the male audience that honor can only sometimes be reached in battling to the death, an honor that is well worth sacrificing your life. In the Iliad, Achilles states, “Man, supposing you...
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