Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Iliad - The Hero

After reading The Death of Hector - Project Gutenberg etext

1. Define Epic Hero
2. Analyze the text to prove if Achilles is an Epic Hero or not.

Epic Traditions: The Hero from http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng211/epic_traditions_the_hero.htm

Our earliest historical examples of epic heroes and their tasks are Homer's great Achilles and Odysseus, and the Greeks' war against the Trojans.   Achilles, known in theIliad by the epithets (nicknames) "the Man Breaker" or "the Great Runner," is heroic in the sense that he fights triumphantly against all his enemies and takes no thought for his own safety, defending rather the honor and duties that a warrior must insist are due to him.  He seeks fame, obeying only the immortal gods.  Even by the end of theIliad's hundreds of years of composition, however, revisionism seems to have found its way into the poem, repeatedly posing criticisms of the hero for his titanic rage which nearly destroys the Greek army when Achilles refuses to fight in his quarrel with Agamemnon.  This costs him the life of his best friend, Patroclos, who goes into battle to replace him and dies fighting Hector, who was Achilles' destined opponent.   Finally, even Zeus sends Hermes to tell Achilles that he has exceeded the bounds of propriety.  Of course, by that time, he has been dragging Hector's corpse behind his chariot around and around Troy's walls for three days to demonstrate how completely he has defeated the man who took Patroclos from him.

(10) Why do the gods interfere with Achilles’ plans for Hector’s body?
(11) What are the results of Priam’s meeting with Achilles? Why?
(14) In what ways do the Greek gods behave differently from your own divinity?
(15) Contrast Hector and Achilles. Which do you like better? Why?
(16) In your opinion, is Achilles any different at the end of the story than he was at the beginning? Explain.

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