Achillian or Odyssian?
(An analysis of Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, comparing Odysseus and Achilles as epic heroes) “Though he appears on the verge of defeat many times -- a characteristic of the epic hero -- he ultimately triumphs” (Magher). Although there are many characteristics of heroes and epic heroes, one thing is usually common among them all, that the hero triumphs at the end of the difficult challenge. In Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, there are two epic heroes that share few characteristics and are vastly different in nearly every portion of their lives. Achilles and Odysseus are two epic heroes who face difficult journeys and situations that they ultimately have to overcome. The way these two heroes overcome those obstacles is very different, yet they are both considered epic heroes. What it means to be a hero is a question very open to interpretation. Is it merely someone who wins, saves the damsel in distress, and is idolized for various achievements? Or is it something more, something deeper within a person that leads them in the direction of helping others? Regardless of the many definitions of a hero, it goes without question that both Achilles and Odysseus are indeed epic heroes. In Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, Achilles and Odysseus can be compared and contrasted as epic heroes. Achilles and Odysseus are very different epic heroes in the sense that Achilles thinks more linear, whereas Odysseus thinks in a more complex and deceptive manner.