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The Iliad

By catherinechou Feb 14, 2013 949 Words
The Iliad

Greek Mythology is dominated by numerous heroes, all with unique super-human qualities. The purpose of every story is to demonstrate each character’s remarkable “gift.” Some of the qualities represented by these colorful characters include caution, confidence, kindness, strength, and courage. Combining Odysseus’ wisdom, Achilles’ intimidation factor, and Hector’s bravery, would result in the ultimate warrior who would surpass the best of Homer’s creations.

Among Homer’s enviable heroes, Odysseus with his great cunning wisdom is certainly one of the most admired. In every major battle, it is Odysseus who comes up with the ideas to outsmart the enemy or more importantly, factors that will help and allow the Achaians to win the battles, “Wait a bit, Achilles- we know your quality, but do not drive out the army to battle fasting. Fighting lasts a long time, when once the battalions meet…First order them all to take food and drink here in camp. Strength and courage both are mine when I have my bread and wine…Then dismiss, and tell them to make a proper meal.” (Homer 231). This not only shows Odysseus’ knowledge in how a battle runs and what the soldiers need in order to have energy to fight well in battle, but also shows how Odysseus’ wisdom is acknowledged by the Achaians and he is well-respected by having kings and princes such as Agammenon and Achilles listen and do what he suggests. With his words, Odysseus also keeps the Achaian army intact, “But here we have the ninth year at the turn, and still we stay…But all the same, it is disgraceful to stay long and then to return empty. Bear it, my friends!” (Homer 28). The soldiers have grown impatient especially with their lack of result. Odysseus uses his wisdom to demonstrate understanding of the soldiers’ plight, yet at the same time, remind them that they’ve put in so much time and that they need to have something to show for it! A successful, ideal warrior most definitely needs Odysseus’s wisdom on the battlefield.

Achilles is another one of the most famous Greek heroes. He is known as a great warrior, someone who easily intimidates all his opponents. Very few other mythology figures is a better fighter than Achilles and his intimidation factor is an extremely useful weapon, “When Acilles appeared after his long absence, and the Trojans aw him sweep into the field with gleaming armour like a very god of war, their knees trembled beneath them in dismay…” (Homer 237). Without even having to make a move, Achilles causes his enemies to be afraid of him and want to back down. A warrior who can intimidate his enemies by just sight, usually does have the advantage to dominate in actually fighting. Once Achilles engages in combat, it is clear to see that his skills are above all others, “My dear Priamides! Why do you tell me to tackle that proud man, when you know that is the last thing I want?...It’s no good for a mere man to fight Achilles…And even without that his cast goes straight and does not stop till it runs through human flesh” (Homer 237-238). Aineias, who is no amateur soldier, is clearly unwilling to risk his life facing Achilles. A true, ideal warrior would definitely need to have the sort of reputation that Achilles has.

An ideal warrior also needs to have bravery. No one represents this trait better than the famous Trojan, Hector. In the ten years of defending the City Of Troy, Hector is never directly connected to any defeat. Where Aineias backs off without hesitation, Hector also aware of Achilles’ reputation steps up instead when he tells Achilles, “I know you are a stronger man than I am, but all that lies on the knees of the gods” (Homer 243). Hector knows he may lose his life, but he is so full of bravery that he is not afraid to fight Achilles one on one. Hector’s daring actions also show how his valor. The killing of Patroclos is probably the most troublesome death of a warrior. Patroclos’ death leads to the Trojans and the Achaians to fight with even more intensity. However, bold Hector did not just kill Patroclos, but did something even worse, “Hector had taken the armour, and now he was dragging away the body, intending to cut off the head and throw the body among the carrion dogs” (Homer 204-205). This shows how not only is Hector daring enough to kill Patroclos when knowing he is a good friend of Achilles, but also has the guts to take his armor and even attempt to carry the body back to the Trojan city to be his chief pride. To be considered as a warrior, the man most definitely needs to take valiant actions.

After reading Homer’s famous Iliad, we the readers know that Homer did not put all of the great qualities into one single warrior, but instead put great characteristics and qualities into different warriors, which when combined forms an ideal warrior- the combination of Odysseus’s wisdom, Achilles’ intimidation, and Hector’s bravery. Odysseus with his cunning wisdom not only comes up with ideas to outsmart the Achaian enemies and to win the battles, but he also helps keep the Achaian army intact. Achilles with his intimidating reputation allows him to be greatly feared by his opponents and highly-respected for his combat skills. Ultimately, Hector with his bravery and the bold actions he takes earns him a reputation of a greatly-respected hero. It is obvious that an ideal warrior must have the characteristics of Odysseus, Achilles, and Hector, heroes in The Iliad.

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