Essay about Heroic Code in the Iliad and the Odyssey

979 Words Jun 19th, 2005 4 Pages
Heroic Code in the Iliad and the Odyssey

In Webster's Dictionary, a hero is defined as a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of purpose, especially if this individual has risked or sacrificed his life. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, the code which administers the conduct of the Homeric heroes is a straightforward idea. The aim of every hero is to achieve honor. Throughout the Iliad and the Odyssey, different characters take on the role of a hero. Honor is essential to the Homeric heroes, so much that life would be meaningless without it. Thus, honor is more important than life itself. Throughout the Iliad, heroic characters make decisions based on a specific set of principles, which are referred to as the "code of
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Throughout the entire Trojan war, Achilles spent most of his time pouting in his tent after Agamemnon kidnapped his prized maiden, Chryseis. He also lets his best friend, Patroclus, go into battle alone only to die when Hector kills him with his spear. Achilles joins the war when he hears of Patrclus death, but it was not out of bravery; out of guilt, revenge and anger, when he hears of his friend's death. When Achilles kills Hector, he binds his feet to his chariot and drags his body around the walls of Troy. In my opinion this was not an act of heroism. But in the Iliad the Greeks loved Achilles. Achilles was considered half mortal and half God. Achilles has all the characteristics of a heroic warrior on a grand scale, and he possesses more than a common measure of all the merits and all the faults of a hero (Bowra 193). All of Achilles traits and glory are won primarily in battle, which sets Achilles apart from Hector because Achilles knows little about home and family. He has no wife: his father he has not seen in years; his mother, even though she helps him but he cannot help her and she isn't even a human being (Bowra 194). In the Odyssey, Odysseus is considered the heroic figure. Throughout both the Iliad and the Odyssey, Odysseus showed many acts of bravery, maybe more than Achilles showed. Both men, in the

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