The theme of an epic poem or short story is arguably the literary element that has the greatest effect on conflict in a story.
Theme is what the characters and the audience are supposed to take away after finishing the story. In Hercules and The Iliad, the overall themes of each story help to almost determine the conflict to come, and how that conflict will help to shape the character.
Many consider the main theme of The Iliad to be the very first line in the entire epic poem, in which a muse sings a song about ‘the wrath of Achilles’. This opening line of dialogue sets up the epic in a way that enable a lot of conflict to be set up.
“No man alive could keep the dog-packs off you, not if they haul in ten, twenty times that ransom and pile it here before me and promise fortunes more” (Beers 64).
In this quote, Achilles is brutally informing Hector that he will not return his body back to his family once he has died. This reflects back onto the theme of ‘the wrath of Achilles’, demonstrates how one person’s wrath can lead to deadly conflicts.
In Hercules, one theme that is commonly found is persevering against all of the struggles that one may encounter. In this epic poem, Hercules has to complete twelve challenges in order to prove he is a virtuous man (Hamilton). These twelve challenges easily allows for one conflict after another to occur throughout the entire story.
“By and by, no Geryon was there, but a huge snake, like one of those which Hercules had strangled in his
A theme is a specific reason that something is happening in a book or a movie. A theme is also in real life. A theme in real life could be you doing something for a specific reason over and over again. The two classic stories of Romeo and Juliet and The Odyssey may at first seem very different. One is Ancient Greek and the other is the late 1500’s. One of these stories is more of a hero’s journey while one is more of a love story between star crossed lovers. The themes between The Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet are very similar. The three themes are Loyalty, Love, and Strength. The first theme that is similar between these two books is Loyalty.
A theme is a unifying or dominant idea in a literary work. Steinbeck described the competition of good versus evil as the story of mankind itself. He believes that every generation to come since Adam and Eve will now be immersed with the struggle of good and evil due to Eve’s curiosity that led to sin, eventually banning both her and Adam from the Garden of Eden. In East of Eden, Steinbeck makes the contest of good versus evil apparent through his contrasting description of the setting, the characters’ opposing personalities, and society’s changing morals.
The great talents that Achilles’ possesses cause him to become much admired and well known by both the Greeks and the Trojans. He begins to believe all the good things people are say and becomes an arrogant, child-like, selfish person which all mark Achilles’ hubris part of his behavior cycle. Achilles shows his arrogance when he gets angry with Agamemnon for him wanting take his prize of honor, which Achilles worked very hard to get. Because of this, Achilles begins to lose his capability to think straight and weigh all the factors in situations, and withdraws himself from the battle. Later on after Achilles overcomes the death of his best friend and regains back his courage and pride, Achilles kills Hector and thinks he is invincible for doing the great deed he did. Achilles fought Hector for honor over all else and performed the death of Hector almost as a duty and feels proud of himself for doing so. Before he kills Hector, Achilles declares, “I will go forth to slay Hector, who killed the man the I loved… Until then, may I win great fame and glory, and may every Trojan realize that the greatest of the Greeks no longer remains apart from battle”(145).
Unlike Achilles, Hector bravely stays in the battle and calls upon Achilles. As Achilles rejoins the battle, Hector cowardly runs from Achilles thus also showing an un-hero like response from Hector. As the epic poem climax’s into the battle between Achilles and Hector, both characters are in angst to whom the God’s will side with.”I know you well- I see my fate before me./Never a chance that I could win you over.../Iron inside your chest, that heart of yours./But now beware, or my curse will draw God’s wrath/upon your head, that day when Paris and lord Apollo-/for all your fighting heart-destroy you at the Scaen Gates!” (Homer 22:420-424) In this quote Hector realizes that the Gods have sided with Achilles and death is near to Hector. As Achilles pursues to kill Hector, Hector pleads for a proper burial. This is because in Ancient Greek times, it was often believed if you did not have a proper burial, you were destined to suffer between worlds until your rites of passage into the underworld were completed. The Greeks saw immortality as areté, which means excellence and virtue. This is achieved through victory in battle which Hector was not able to obtain. “But this Achilles - first he slaughters Hector,/ He rips away the noble prince's life/ then lashes him to his chariot, drags him round/ his beloved comrade's tomb. But why, I ask you?/ What good will it do him?What honor will he gain?/Let that man
Rage. The very first word of The Iliad brings with it a sense of violence in itself. When one hears the word ‘rage’, the following thought is one of aggression, of anger, of almost animalistic hatred. Yes, hatred, for one cannot have rage without it. The opening scene has the ironic hero- ironic in the sense that most would not classify him as a hero in the
In book 22, Hector becomes an instrument of fate and is shown no mercy by Achilles. Hector was consistently tricked by Apollo into fighting the battle even though there was no hope of winning. At the end of the book, as Achilles is bounding towards the city of Troy with Hector standing out front. Despite all of the encouragement to come back inside the city walls, Hector remains outfront and faces his death. Ultimately his pride gets the best of him and he would rather stay out and accept his fate of death, then to come inside and receive shame for leading his people into a losing battle in the first place. Hector chooses to leave his city to fend for itself without its greatest warrior to save himself from shame. The parallel between Hector and Achilles leads to a greater understanding of the theme of freedom vs. fate. Hector gives into his pride and accepts the “fate that awaits us all” and Achilles is motivated by freedom and seeks the revenge of his friend ultimately escaping death. Homer makes an excellent statement of this connection between the two men when he writes: “They ran by these springs, pursuer and pursued, a great man out front, a far greater behind” (book
The importance of the theme of good and evil is an important part of the story or in this case an epic poem. The hero is facing a big threat and needs to save the world. In this case it would be Beowulf vs. Grendel."I had a fixed purpose when I put to sea. As I sat in the boat with my band of men, I meant to perform to the uttermost what your people wanted or perish in the attempt,in
He expresses no fear during battles. Throughout the Iliad, Achilles ignores the norms of the society primarily because he sees himself as a greater figure than one who has to follow a set of rules. Throughout the poem, Achilles shows how much of a savage he is through his gruesome actions. While fighting Hector, after brutally beating him up, Hector begs Achilles to return his body for a proper burial, a respected act after a battle. “Do not allow the dogs to mutilate my body By the Greek ships”, requested Hector (Homer,433). Achilles responds feeling no remorse, “I wish my stomach would let me cut off your flesh in strips and eat it raw for what you 've done to me. In this passage of the Iliad, Homer illustrates how gruesome Achilles really was. Achilles lets his anger drive his actions, seeking redemption, and he offers no respect to any of his enemies.
He then returns the body to Priam and feels guilty about his friend. “Feel no anger at me, Patroclus, if you learn--- even there in the House of Death--- I let his father have Prince Hector back” (Homer). Achilles wants his friend to forgive him and once again has succumbed to the intense emotions he feel that are out of his control. These emotions have Achilles act on rage and impulse.
In every literary work, there are themes. A theme is a broad idea, moral or message of a book or story. One individual may construe the themes of a book or story differently than another, but that is the pure beauty of themes. One great literary work is The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller. Succinctly, the play is about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in 1692. Throughout the story, the townspeople indict their neighbors of being a witch and practicing witchcraft. On the surface, this historical drama has a few universal and enduring themes. Themes are universal because regardless of where in the world, the ideas still relates to everyone and is understood. Themes are enduring because the ideas are found
Theme is a central idea or message in a work of literature. Theme connects with all events of a story, however, it is not the moral of the story like many may think. Theme is interpreted by the reader. In other words, the theme is just almost every aspect of a story. For example, theme needs characters, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, and speaker to analyze what theme is in a story. The equation for theme is character + conflict and resolution = theme. The story of Antigone for example has many themes. Antigone is the story of a young girl, who's purpose is to honor her brother Polyneices in a burial. Both of her brothers killed each other, however Eteocles, her other brother, fought for the city and got an honorable burial, while Polynieces,
Achilles’ insolent pride backfires on him when he becomes ultimately responsible for the death of his best friend Patroclus. Although Achilles still refuses to fight, he allows Patroclus to where his armor into battle. The sight of what the Trojans think is Achilles terrorizes them at first, but Apollo pushes him down and knocks off Patroclus’ armor. Hector sees the injured imposter on the ground and delivers a fatal wound. Only now, out of personal grief, does Achilles return to the battle.
King Eurypterus told Hercules that the only way to cleanse himself is to complete 12 heroic labors. He added that performing these labors would cause Hercules to become an immortal god with honor restored. Hercules first labor was to kill the Nemean lion. The second labor was to kill the multi-headed hydra. The third labor was to capture Cerynitian without wounding it. The fourth labor was to capture an enormous boar. The fifth labor was to clean the stables of King Augeas in a single day. The sixth labor was to kill the stymphalian birds without entering the swamp. The seventh labor tasked Hercules was disposal of the Minotaur. The eighth labor was to bring the mares of Diomedes to King Eurypterus. The ninth labor was to retrieve the belt of the queen Hippolyta. The tenth labor was to capture cattle that belonged to Geryon, a monster. The eleventh