Where are the Heroes? As we read Homers epic tale of war, death, and enthralling characters, we find great warriors each on a different pathway. Looking closer at three of these characters, Akhilleus, Agamemnon, and Hektor, we find that each of these warriors displays many heroic qualities and deeds, yet none ever achieves becoming a true hero.
What does it mean to achieve the status of a true hero? Many books and papers have been written on this subject but for the purpose of my argument let me condense it. For Akhilleus, Agamemnon, or Hektor to become a true hero they must have completed the Quest Cycle.
The basic aspects of the Hero Quest Cycle are, first the separation or departure. In this part of the cycle the hero must leave the comforts of home or the known world and begin on their journey into the unknown world.
Then comes the initiation phase where our hero must face trials and overcome great challenges. Finally the hero quest is completed in the return cycle. In this completion stage the hero has his ultimate boon and return, usually a triumphant return.
In evaluating Agamemnon we find an impressive warlord, as Akhilleus states: "Ã¢ÂÂ¦first in rank of all the Akhaians." (Pp. 27 ll. 105.) Agamemnon has left his known world on a quest of honor, to fight for his brother Menelaus, who has had his wife and treasures stolen by a guest. In coming to a place of trials Agamemnon hastily shows us that he is in serious lack of hero qualities. Agamemnon has taken a girl as a war prize, when her father, a priest of the God Apollo, comes humbly seeking to pay a fair ransom for her return Agamemnon is harsh and unyielding. Even after his fellow...