Achilles Vs Odysseus Essay

3891 words - 16 pages

Achilles Odysseus

Homer's two central heroes, Odysseus and Achilles, are in many ways differing manifestations of the same themes. While Achilles' character is almost utterly consistent in his rage, pride, and near divinity, Odysseus' character is difficult to pin down to a single moral; though perhaps more human than Achilles, he remains more difficult to understand. Nevertheless, both heroes are defined not by their appearances, nor by the impressions they leave upon the minds of those around them, nor even so much by the words they speak, but almost entirely by their actions. Action is what drives the plot of both the Iliad and the Odyssey, and action is what holds the characters together. In this respect, the theme of humanity is revealed in both Odysseus and Achilles: man is a combination of his will, his actions, and his relationship to the divine. This blend allows Homer to divulge all that is human in his characters, and all that is a vehicle for the idyllic aspects of ancient Greek society. Accordingly, the apparent inconsistencies in the characterization of Odysseus can be accounted for by his spiritual distance from the god-like Achilles; Achilles is more coherent because he is the son of a god. This is not to say that Achilles is not at times petty or unimaginative, but that his standards of action are merely more continuous through time. Nevertheless, both of Homer's heroes embody important and admirable facets of ancient Greek culture, though they fracture in the ways they are represented.

Odysseus is a peculiar mix of both heroic and intelligent qualities that make him seem both human and supernatural. The Odysseus portrayed in the Iliad somewhat contrasts the Odysseus we see in the Odyssey. For the purposes of the former, he is represented as a man of conviction, possessing significant military genius and guile, as well as persuasive capabilities. In the latter, however, some of his more ignoble traits are revealed: he is a braggart, he almost dishonorably uses poisoned arrows, and he shows conceit in his victory over the Cyclops. It is sometimes difficult to reconcile this man with the one who willingly gives up eternal life for the moral condition and the chance to return to his wife. Largely, the problems with understanding the moral position of Odysseus stem from his immense experience and cleverness, which make him at once mortal and fantastic.

Achilles, on the other hand, can almost be fully comprehended from his initial disagreement with Agamemnon. Agamemnon's unreasonable actions seem to justify Achilles' refusal to engage his men in battle, primarily, because his pride will not allow him to act. Achilles believes himself to be the most important man in the army and the injury cannot be forgiven. Even when a diplomatic escape is contrived by Agamemnon, Achilles sees his position as unchanged-doubtlessly, Odysseus would have relented but Achilles is unable to forget past grievances.


Find Another Essay On Achilles Vs Odysseus

Nores vs. Greek Essay

7682 words - 31 pages Nores vs. Greek Greek mythology and Roman mythology are almost identical. This is an accepted fact, as it is widely known that the Romans stole the Greek myths. However, it is very interesting to note that the mythology of the Vikings (Norse) has many similarities with the Greek myths. These myths are, by no means, identical to the Greek ones (like the Roman ones are), but there are very distinct commonalities between the two. I see two

When the Bubble Burst Essay

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages 348.8 K Relative Error 3.4 7.7 0.6 0.1 1.2 Table 1 Summary of results. A = Naphtalene, B = Durene Figure 1 Phase diagram of (Naphtalene/Durene) system via thermal analysis Figure 2 Phase diagram of (Naphtalene/Durene) system via visual analysis Figure 3Experimental data vs fitted data for runs (1 to 6) Figure 4 Experimental data vs fitted data for

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Julia Margaret Cameron

1406 words - 6 pages At a time when women were looked upon as being homemakers, wives, mothers and such the late 1850's presented a change in pace for one woman in specific. Photography was discovered in 1826 and soon after the phenomenon of photography was being experimented with and in turn brought new and different ways of photo taking not only as documenting real time, but also conceptualizing a scene in which an image would be taken. Julia Margaret Cameron will

Evaluation of School Improvement

1403 words - 6 pages The evaluation process should be progressive to incorporate overall planning, implement changes, which contribute to success. In order to focus on school climate and norms, the evaluation design must include the students, instructions, and outcomes to improve communication and building-level concerns to be address in this response. School Climate and Social Norms The school principal, other staff leaders, and personnel set the tone and the

Case Study: The Benefits of Animal Testing

1757 words - 7 pages Nine year old Amy has already had a rough start in life. She was born with an abnormal heart that hinders her everyday activities. Amy is unable to keep up with kids her own age because she often tires out easily. As a consequence, she has very little friends and is often alone. Amy is forced to take different medications everyday just to survive. Amy’s life consists of medicine, doctors, and constant hospital visits. However, Amy is due for a

Myth and Magic: Realism in "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

1531 words - 6 pages “He enjoyed his grandmother's unique way of telling stories. No matter how fantastic or improbable her statements, she always delivered them as if they were the irrefutable truth” (Wikipedia, 2011). Experiences are particular instances of one personally encountering or undergoing something and in these moments of time life changes for the best or the worst and memories are formed. These recollections such as riding your first bicycle, going to

Similar Essays

Ancient Greek Mythology Study Notes Essay

1964 words - 8 pages Myrimidons – Achilles’ warriorsAjax – second greatest Greek warrior, kills himself after losing Achilles armor to Odysseus.Sinon – An epic liar! Acting as if he is a traitor to the Greeks, he lies and says the Greeks left Troy and that they left the wooden horse as an offering to Athena.Epeus – the builder who made the wooden horse.Palamedes – the Greek who tricked Odysseus into showing that he was not

The Bow Of Odysseus Essay

2454 words - 10 pages Achilles was thought of as bigger that Perikles, Heracles bigger than Achilles, and the Titans bigger than them all. Since Odysseus was surely older than most if not all of the suitors, and since the Trojan war was fast becoming part of the Greek mythic past by the time of Odysseus' final return, it's not overly surprising that Odysseus was thought to be superior to all the young suitors of his wife in strength and valor. Although Odysseus himself had

Seven Great Historical Heroes Essay

1584 words - 6 pages heroes that can be compared in history are Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas, Socrates, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and Arthur: and they can be because they are seven of the most important people in human history. To start off, the first epic hero of history that is important is the great Greek, Achilles. Achilles is important for many reasons. First of all, he is considered to be the first real epic hero. The story really comes to life in the Iliad. Where

Antigone Higher Law Vs. Laws O Essay

926 words - 4 pages admit he is anything but absolutely correct in this matter. It seems that Creon falls under the category of other Greek figures (Achilles, Odysseus, etc.) whose pride and stubborn nature proves to be their undoing. The true lesson to be learned from this play may be spoken by Teiresias, "It is a fool who is governed by self-will."
Web Apps | The Walking Dead No Man's Land premium | Therese Plaehn