• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'How heroic do you find the character of Achilles?'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'How heroic do you find the character of Achilles?' A hero is more than just a character that it especially noble, courageous, self-sacrificing etc. A hero is also a protagonist, a character to whom we can relate, and with whom we can sympathise. Ultimately a hero is a character with which we can identify, and an example which each of us wishes to follow. Achilles often appears to be such a character. Of all the Homeric heroes, he is by far the most passionate and emotional. When begging his mother to help him in book 1 he speaks "with tears falling". His protection of Briseis and his honour is extreme. He goes to the lengths of withdrawing from the fighting, even though "his heart yearned for battle", he causes and endures the suffering his fellow Argives, and his speaks affectionately of Briseis ...read more.

Middle

In this passage there can be no sympathy for Achilles. His anger at Agamemnon's insult in book 1 can be understood. But by book 9 he has got what he wanted: the Trojans are winning, Agamemnon has realised his mistake [although admittedly none of those coming to Achilles make any offer of a public apology by Agamemnon], and he could have all that he had lost. In book 1 Achilles stubborn attitude could be excused as heat of the moment (we are after all, talking about Achilles whom Peleus urged to control "your heart's high passion"), and in book 1 Achilles is perhaps unaware of at least unthinking of the consequences of his actions (i.e. the death of many Danaans). Achilles' real crime is to let his personal quarrel with Agamemnon get in the way of his duty to his friends. ...read more.

Conclusion

What is remarkable is that Achilles in fact sees the defeat of Hektor as a triumph for the whole Greek army, not just personal revenge, and he says "We have won great glory - we have killed glorious Hektor". In the act of returning to the fight and killing Hektor Achilles has traded his own life (i.e. he has chosen the short and glorious life) for the fall of Troy. This is why I feel that Achilles is a true hero. He is wronged massively, by his friends and by cruel fate. He grapples with his own demons of anger and pride. But eventually he corrects this by making the ultimate sacrifice for his people. His triumph over adversity is a story common throughout world literature, and is one to which we can all relate, and one which each of us in our own lives, has emulated in some way or another. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Who was the real tragic hero of the Agamemnon?

    3 star(s)

    He was stupid enough to think that he had done nothing wrong and being so bold did not bode well for him with Clytemnestra. He had not apologized for sacrificing Iphigenia and this was probably his biggest flaw in Clytemnestra's eyes.

  2. How far do you feel that Aeschylus intended us to feel that Agamemnon deserved ...

    Atreus committed a wicked crime, and so naturally, his sons would inherit his evil streak. The chorus even says "a curse burns bright on crime, full-blown the father's crimes will blossom, burst into the sons". Agamemnon had no choice in the matter, and because of this, we feel he did not deserve his fate.

  1. How far does the Agamemnon reflect the Perfect Tragedy?

    We know that her downfall is very near and the catharsis will soon happen for her, the diction just emphasises the fact that she will die. Clytemnestra's speech really emphasises her character as she really shows her control from the way she speaks.

  2. Compare and Contrast the characters of Hektor and Paris and draw close character analysis ...

    This brief description is insightful as we can deduct a lot about his personality just from his attire. The fact that Paris is intending to use a curved bow in combat is significant. A curved bow was seen as a cowardly means of fighting as it involves attacking from a safe distance, as no physical combat is therefore necessary.

  1. Do You Know "Achilles' Heel"?-- Analyzing the Relationship between Greek Myths and English Language

    For instance, a huge or heroic task is said to herculean. This is in tribute to the Greek mythological hero Hercules. And when you talk about a book of maps, atlas will occur to you. It is named after Atlas, a titan who supported the heavens on his shoulders.

  2. Epic/ Heroic poetry can be easily defined through comparing and contrasting the exploits and ...

    We see that the relationships that both heroes have are the same, in that they stay true to their friends even after death. In this part is where we also see a difference in their loyalty. Gilgamesh's approach to dealing with the grief of Enkidu's death is to find immortality and try to bring Enkidu back to life.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work