Characteristics of Human Greatness

975 WordsDec 10, 20054 Pages
The Iliad by Homer is about characteristics of human greatness. In this epic poem, characters vie for greatness and the thought of being remembered by all. By encountering many different warriors, kings, gods and goddess', the reader becomes familiar with both vice and virtue. In The Iliad there are many characteristics that could distinguish a warrior. The three most important of these traits are courage, honor, and determination, none of which may be lacking in a person who is ‘great.' Courage is the most important quality of the three necessary for greatness. Courage is present in a person when they prove it is possible for them to overcome a perceived danger. Achilles displays courage when he is faced with the news of his own…show more content…
471)." Although he is suffering with the death of Patroclus, Achilles is determined to gain revenge on Hector. Soon there after, Hector proves of his persistence by standing in front of his troops and exclaiming, "You fool, enough! No more thoughts of retreat paraded before our people (p. 477)," speaking about forcing the Argives back onto their ships. Hector will not allow his army to disgrace the people again at this point. He wants to prove to them that they are capable of defeating the Achaeans. Without determination, many men would not acquire honor and would not obtain honor in their lives. By showing perseverance, they may just prove to the people that there is a reason for them to be remembered. Achilles seems to be the best portrayer of the characteristics of human greatness in this epic poem. Although he has some weaknesses as a hero towards the beginning, and feels invincible at times, he was quickly grounded by the gods, and continued to be ‘great.' In the end, Achilles even showed mercy towards the Trojans and King Priam by returning the body of Hector and promising not to fight for as long as Priam required for the burial of his son. This only added to the many qualities Achilles showed in The Iliad. Courage, honor, and determination are essential to human greatness at this time period because a man could only be judged and remembered based on his ability in

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