The Iliad, By Homer

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The Iliad, along with the Odyssey, is one of two epics handed down through the Homeric tradition in the Greek Dark Ages, considered by many to be the Heroic Age. However, the key issue lies with the fact that ancient Greeks define a ‘hero’ very differently from what we would consider a ‘hero’ to be today. In ancient Greece, a hero is any human descended from the gods and bequeathed with superhuman abilities. By this definition, Achilles is immediately classified as a hero, no matter his actions. We can thus see that the ancient Greeks meant differently when they referred to Achilles as a hero. Today, we define a hero as someone who displays courage and selflessness in moments of adversity. In Homer’s epic the Iliad, it is often disputed who the true ‘hero’ of the tale is, with Hector often being hailed as the hero of the book. Thus, in this thesis, we will examine the anecdotes in Homer’s Iliad that prove Achilles as a hero even in modern-day standards. His heroism can be seen through the various actions he takes in the Iliad, as well the values that the Iliad held at the time historically and culturally. As the Iliad is traversed chronologically, many examples support my thesis that Achilles, is, in fact, the true hero. He was dunked in the River Styx by his mother as a child, which rendered him nearly invincible. As he grew, he built a great reputation as a great athlete and warrior. The first example of his heroics was illustrated when he was given the choice to die

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