using The Odyssey by Homer and Aechylus: The Oresteian Trilogy, Agamemnon.
'Consider the nature of heroism in epic poetry. How does the role of the hero relate to the society that produced him? How is the idea of the hero questioned?'
One of the most famous epic writers is 'Homer'. Homer's Illiad and Odyssey are the first two known works of western literature. They were written in 760-869 BC. They were both created to be oral poems and some question the ability of an orator to be able to remember and recite such long works. There is also question whether 'Homer' was a man or a collection of writers. In this essay I will investigate and analyse the Odyssey in relation to other texts, breaking the above title into the three sections. Firstly the nature of heroism in epic poetry and how Odysseus fits into this. Secondly hero and his society, what aspects of society effect the hero and thirdly how the idea of the hero is questioned in the poem.
Homer writes about the thirteenth century BC in Greece and in 'Homer and the oral tradition' Kirk explains how this was a Heroic age:
'W.P.Ker and H.M.Chadwick evolved the concept of a Heroic Age: the age of a special kind of militaristic and aristocratic society, whose leaders are bound by a rigid code of personal honour and self-esteem and by the glorification of physical prowess and personal possessions.' (p. 10)
This is the materialistic society that relates to the heroes in Homer's epic works. The hero is the main subject matter of most epic poems, the life of the hero is told throughout. The whole story is centred on a great man who does many heroic deeds. In the Odyssey Odysseus is the hero returning from the war in...