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Who Is Achilles A Hero

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Who Is Achilles A Hero
The Iliad has been a classic poem for all audiences to enjoy for hundreds of years. The great story of the conflicts, feuds, and turmoils that are intertwined within the epic makes this a phenomenal story. This made the poem enjoyable to read, because of the constant actions and consequences occurring simultaneously. The themes of anger, alienation, and reconciliation are bold, not leaving anything to question. I find this to be extremely true in Homer’s interpretation of what a hero is. Homer portrays Achilles, the protagonist, to be arrogant, proud, and wrathful. These attributes make Achilles seem like a villain, rather than a hero. Even when Achilles is offered a plethora of gifts from Agamemnon, Achilles refuses, saying “First he must …show more content…
It can be categorized as a person who is willing to fight for someone or something for that hero’s country, no matter what the consequences may be. Or it can be selfish, fighting for one’s own benefit and personal gain. Homer wrote that heroism has two different meanings that emphasize how a hero thinks. Achilles, for example, can be considered both noble and selfish. He fights for the Achaeans, but he also is stubborn, and refuses to fight for a certain period of time during the final year of the trojan war. This was due to the fact that Agamemnon, the leader of the Achaeans, took Achilles favorite slave women, humiliating Achilles in the process. During the time where Achilles refused to fight, his army suffered horrible losses, and his close comrade, Patroclus, died. Seth L. Schein writes about Homer’s take on heroes by saying, “Homer's attitude toward heroism can be seen in the very word hero, which elsewhere denotes a figure worshipped in hero cults, but in the Iliad signifies a warrior who lives and dies in the pursuit of honor and glory.” I disagree and agree with Schein’s interpretation of heroes for the Iliad. Although he mentions honor, which I interpreted as fighting for someone or something, he leaves out the selfishness, never mentioning heroes being selfish in his essay. Thinking for one’s personal gain is an important part of Homer’s definition of a hero, and Schein left that concept

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