Achilles as Tragic Hero
In his classic work "Poetics" Aristotle provided a model of the tragic hero. According to Aristotle, the tragic hero is more admirable than the average person. This results in the tragic hero being admired by the audience. For the audience to accept a tragic ending as just, it is crucial that the tragic hero be responsible for their undoing. At the same time though, they must remain admired and respected. This is achieved by the tragic hero having a fatal flaw that leads to their undoing. One of literature's examples of the tragic hero is Achilles from Homer's The Iliad. However, Achilles is different from the classic tragic hero in one major way - his story does not end tragically. Unlike the usual …show more content…
This illustrates that Achilles can be considered as being more admirable than the average person. This is also expressed in the poem, such as where Apollo refers to Achilles saying, "Let that man beware, or great and glorious as he is, / We mighty gods will wheel on him in anger - look, / He outrages the senseless clay in all his fury!" (Homer, XXIV 58-60). This passage recognizes Achilles as great and glorious.
This passage also mentions the fatal flaw, which is the second requirement of Aristotle's hero. Achilles fatal flaw is his tendency to go to extremes out of anger. Apollo recognizes this where he refers to Achilles' fury. This fatal flaw is also expressed in the opening lines of the poem, "Rage - Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, / murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses" (Homer, I 1-2). The rage that is spoken of first causes Achilles to react and refuse to join the battle. When Patroclos is killed, it then causes Achilles to react again, with his rage driving him too far. This allows the audience to see that Achilles is a great man, while having a fatal flaw that leads to his own undoing.
The final aspect of the tragic hero is that his life ends tragically because of his downfall. If Achilles fit with this model perfectly, he would become aware of his excessive rage at the end of the poem. However, while he did become a better person
Aristotle's tragic hero is a man who is characterized by good and evil. He is a mixture of good characteristics and bad characteristics. For example, Macbeth was an honorable Thane of Glamis. He was a valiant fighter who had protected his country of Scotland well, but he wanted to be king. His "vaulting ambition" caused him to kill King Duncan which ended up in his fall. Aristotle's tragic hero has a tragic flaw, or harmatia, that is the cause of the downfall.
In my understanding this symbolizes a significant turning point in Achilles point of view when it comes to honor, status, power and glory and puts him on a path toward a downward spiral, which ultimately leads him to doubt and question his personal beliefs on power, glory, status and honor. "Faith is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard we are all held in a single honor the brave with the weaklings. A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much. Nothing is won for me now that my heart has gone through his afflictions in forever setting my life on the hazard of battle?(Homer 9.318.206).
The Ancient Greeks admired their heroes and tried to learn from both their achievements and their mistakes. They believed that most great leaders and warriors followed a predictable behavior cycle, which often ended tragically. In Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, Achilles is a great warrior who traces the stages of the behavior cycle twice, from arete to hubris to ate and then to nemesis. Achilles is a highly skilled warrior and a great leader who becomes a narcissist and an arrogant person, which leads to selfish and childish behavior resulting in the death of his best friend. Following Patroclus’ death, Achilles repeats the behavior cycle by regaining his courage and motivation, and goes back to battle against Hector. The pride he feels in
Socrates’ primary motivation for comparing himself to Achilles, the best of all the classic heroes, is to convince the jury of his Achillean heroism. One attribute of a hero according to the events of the Iliad is that one must either kill or be killed in the pursuit of honor. Correspondingly, the Iliad chronicles Achilles’ life and death on the natural path to heroism. Despite the
From the first pages of Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles is portrayed as vengeful, proud, and petty. As the book progresses, the image of Achilles as a spiteful child is sharpened dramatically. Towards the end of the epic; however, Achilles begins to exhibit qualities that are considered heroic even in today’s society. Once his loyal and trusted friend Patroclus dies, Achilles undergoes a drastic change in character. When he confronts the true horror of death, Achilles puts aside his immature
Hector’s pride caused him to be clouded with negative thoughts in his quest for revenge as he brutally slaughtered the Trojans and excessively tortured Hector. Nevertheless, Priam’s sorrow causes Achilles to empathize since he could imagine what it would be like if his father had to go through a similar situation like Priam. This change of heart causes Achilles to forgo hatred in exchange for compassion. Although Achilles shows flaws in his character, his heroism even in the brink of death along with this transformative change as a person demonstrates the cultural expectations of strong leadership in terms of taking physical and emotional qualities into strong consideration.
In the introduction of the Essential Illiad given by Sheila Murnaghan, Achilles is labeled as “the greatest of the Greek heroes”. In classic mythology a hero is a person of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits and is often the offspring of a mortal and a god. Achilles was the greatest fighter among the Greeks or Trojans and feared no man in battle. He was also the offspring of a mortal and a god so by classic mythology definition, Achilles was indeed a hero. A hero is defined by the present day Websters Dictionary as: “one who inspires through manners and actions; an individual who leads through personal example and accomplishments requiring bravery, skill, determination,
Throughout my study of “Othello”, I have learnt of the many aspects of Othello’s character. He is noble and strong, yet he has many insecurities and is recognised for trusting others too easily. This causes him to obtain the famous title of ‘tragic hero’. According to Greek philosopher Aristotle there are certain characteristics of a tragic hero. These include a noble birth, a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his downfall, a reversal of fortune brought about by the hero’s tragic flaw, his actions results in an increase of self-awareness and the audience must feel pity or fear for the character.
Aristotle’s tragic hero is one of the most recognizable types of heroes among literature. A tragic hero combines five major points all of which have to do with the hero’s stature in society, his faults, how these faults effect him, the punishment his faults gets him, and how he reacts to this punishment. Aristotle explained that the story of Oedipus the King, written by Sophocles, is a perfect example of a tragic hero. In the play, Oedipus is given a prophecy in which he is told that he will kill his father then marry his mother. As in many Greek plays, Oedipus tries to run from his prophecy and ends up fulfilling exactly what it is foretold. Through the play we see that Oedipus posses many of the characteristics
Although this quote is very gory, it shows his taste for fighting and how badly he wants to be great. When Achilles was young he was given the choice from his Mother, Thetis Goddess of the Sea, he could either be a great warrior, have a ton of glory, be remembered for ever but would have to die young, or Achilles could live a normal life, not be a great warrior, or be remembered, but he would live to a ripe old age. This is
Achilles can be described as a Tragic Hero in many ways. He was brave and had great strength but, he was also prideful and lacked control with his emotions, and in all the label of a tragic hero fits him. A Tragic hero is “a literary character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on a tragedy” (“Tragic Hero”). To many men Achilles was god-like, and immortal, the epitome of a hero to the Greeks, he was strong, brave in the face of war, and of noble birth because he was the son of a goddess. In the Iliad, Achilles, driven by anger seeks revenge on Hector for killing his “dearest comrade” (“The Heroic Age”), Patroclus, whom he claims to have valued more than his own life. He
“Remind him of that, now, go and sit beside hime, grasp his knees... see how mad he was to disgrace Achilles, the best of the Achaean” (1, 484-490). This pacifies Achilles’ rage briefly while he goes back to the ships and refuses to help the struggling Achaeans on the battlefield because Agamemnon hurt his pride. Another instance that highlights Achilles flaw of anger is when the great Trojan warrior, Hector, kills Achilles close comrade Patroclus. Achilles bursts from his sulking attitude out of the Achaean ships in a rage of passionate fury that even his pride cannot overcome. “My dear comrade’s dead... Hector’s battered down by my spear and gasps away his life, the blood-price for Patroclus, Menotius’ gallant son he’s killed and stripped” (18, 94-109). This signifies Achilles’ zenith of anger and represents the turning point in the epic, along with the transition into his dramatic reversal as a character.
It is necessary to have a clear definition of a “tragic hero”. Aristotle defines a tragic hero as “a person who must evoke a sense of pity and fear in the audience. He is considered a man of misfortune that comes to him through error of judgment” and brings his downfall to evoke the feelings of pity and fear among the audience. Aristotle also names five key characteristics that make a tragic hero a tragic hero. They are as follows: hubris, anagnorisis, catharsis, hamartia, and nemesis. We can recognize these five stages by following Karenin’s thought process throughout this passage.
Achilles has been considered the greatest hero of the Greeks in the Iliad for numerous valid reasons. Similarly, Achilles not only stays humble, but extremely courageous. Waiting patiently for Hector, Achilles says, “No man so long as I am alive above Earth… and see daylight shall lay the weight even if you mean Agamemnon.” (1.88-90) In this statement, Achilles says that no one should ever have power over him. “So, must one be called of no account and a coward if I must carry out every order you may happen to give me….” (6.293-303) Clearly, he fears no one and does not understand the meaning of failure. Achilles constantly acts as man of fierce strength and courage.
Achilles is one of the greatest heroes in The Iliad. For example, he has a high social status. Thorough The Iliad, Achilles is the strongest warrior in the Greek army. As the strongest warrior, he has a high social status. Furthermore, he fought in the Trojan war which was the most important war in the book. Although he had not participated all throughout the war when he appeared there were many important happenings. Lastly, he was an honorable individual as stated in the text. Many times Achilles is referred to as honorable by other characters, making him heroic.