Achilles:hero or coward

Essay by heenanUniversity, Bachelor's February 2005

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The Heroic Age is the age of a kind of militaristic and noble society, whose leaders are enclosed by rigid code of personal honour and confidence and by the adoration of physical ability and personal belongings. 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 centered on a great man who does many deeds, however not necessarily heroic ones. In the poem The Iliad written by Homer, Achilleus is named the hero of the story, though, in measure he does not depict the personality and qualities of a modern day hero. In most cases a hero is defined as a person well known for brave acts or dignity of purpose, especially if this individual has jeopardized his life in order to help some one else.

In mention to a legendary or mythological individual, such as Achilleus, the hero is often of godly ancestry, who is favored by the gods, gifted with great courage and strength, and celebrated for his bold exploits. Nonetheless, although Achilleus is admired by many of his own people as well as his enemies this does not necessarily give him the status of a hero. Through careful examination of The Iliad, the following paragraphs will clarify why Achilleus actions throughout the poem coin him as anything but a heroic Achaian warrior.

From beginning to end of Homer's The Iliad, Achilleus is portrayed as a man stagnant in his ways. He is arrogant, impatient, unforgiving, vengeful, and extremely stubborn, and these awful attributes never cease. Achilleus' lack of compassion perplexes the present situation involving the Achaians and the Trojans by making it difficult to figure out which side...