Difference Between The Iliad And Odysseus

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What makes a character a hero? This is a question that Homer attempts to answer in his epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, through Achilles and Odysseus. Both epics create a unique heroic ideal, which means that they exhibit the traits that a culture deems important. However, the two heroes exhibit different qualities and traits. Therefore, Homer both exhibits all heroic traits and establishes their order of importance in Greek society. In his characterization of the heroes in both The Iliad and The Odyssey, Homer establishes a heroic ideal through the attitudes and ultimate goals of both Achilles and Odysseus while establishing Odysseus as the ultimate hero.
A key element of the heroic ideal in a society is attitude and mentality. In The Iliad, Achilles is widely known for his brute force and rash actions. Homer establishes the importance of this trait to Achilles’ character by opening the epic with a description of Achilles’ anger: “Achilles’ rage, / Black and murderous, that cost the Greeks / Incalculable pain…” (The Iliad I.1-3). The heroic ideal exhibited in The Odyssey is different because of Odysseus’ deviation from the use of brute force. The epic opens the same way as The Iliad, with a description of its hero: “Speak Memory—Of the cunning hero… After he plundered Troy’s sacred heights” (The Odyssey I.1, I.3). While Achilles key traits are his rage and violent tendencies, Odysseus’ most significant characteristic his mind and his ability to think his way out of a
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