The Heroic Code

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Samantha Budd
01/30/2013
Honors World Literature
Ms. Iverson

The Heroic Code

The life of a warrior is not always filled with glamour and glory. Warriors cannot simply waltz through a tough battle, shedding blood left and right and taking all the glory and credit for themselves. There are often tough decisions to be made. Warriors also cannot just think of themselves, for their decisions often affect the lives of others as well. They need the heroic code to guide them in their decision making. In this essay, I will describe the heroic code and share its applications in the stories of Beowulf, Gilgamesh and Noah, and The Illiad, as well as my other personal experiences.

I will start with the story of The Man of La Mancha, which is a play based on the story of Don Quixote. In this story, you have a rather deranged man on a quest to become a knight. In order to become a knight, he has to follow the heroic code. He goes to stay at an inn, but his delusions caused him to think it was a castle. There, he meets a prostitute named Dulcinea. He falls in love with her and treats her like a princess while everyone treats her like dirt on the bottom of their shoe. He follows the heroic code by treating all women as ladies, being civil towards all until provoked, and being respectful of those above him in rank.

The heroic code varies slightly from the region of the world. There are heroic codes of Asia, Greece, Germany, Spain, etc. They are all different but the basic principles are the same: honor and always being a virtuous person. Since I’m going to be starting off my analysis with examples from Homer’s Illiad, I will describe the Greek version of the heroic code. There are four pillars: first and foremost, the desire to excel and be a distinguished above others. Second, to stand firmly in battle and fight to the death if necessary. Third, “to be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds” so basically to stand by your words with your actions. And finally, to help...
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