The Iliad Essay

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Homer’s epic The Iliad, is a great tale of war and glory. It takes place during the last year of the ten year Greek-Trojan war. The Greeks have been fighting with the Trojans for quite some time, and just when peace seemed like a possibility, the youngest prince of Troy, Paris, acts out selfishly and steals the beautiful wife of Menelaus, Helen. This instigates the fighting again. Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of two heroes, both similar, but also very different in their character; the great and powerful Greek, Achilles, and the strong, loving father, Prince Hector of Troy. In Homer’s The Iliad, Hector and Achilles differ as heroes in regards to pride, duty, and family love, the latter being self-centered and prideful, while the first is family oriented full of character.

Although Achilles possesses superhuman strength and has a close relationship with the gods, he continuously comes across as less than heroic. He cannot control his pride and rage that boils up when his ego is attacked. Indeed, the very first sentence of The Iliad illustrates his fury: “An angry man—there is my story: the bitter rancor of Achilles, prince of the house of Peleus, which brought a thousand troubles upon the Acaian host. Many a strong soul it sent down to Hades…” (Homer, 11). This attribute infects him so completely that he abandons his comrades and even prays that the Trojans will slaughter them, all because he has been slighted at the hands of his commander, Agamemnon. Achilles is driven primarily by a thirst for glory. Part of him longs for a long, quiet, enjoyable life, but the rest of him knows that is not his fate, and he is so proud that being remembered is worth sacrificing everything else. Pride can be defined in various ways; Achilles is proud as it relates to arrogance, and boastfulness. One could even go as far to saying that Achilles has hubris, or, the want to equal or best the gods; this is seen when Achilles brazenly takes on the river Xanthus. From...
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