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Homers Achilles - Essay Example

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Homer's Achilles was a great hero. When he was born as a mortal, his mother, Thetis, dipped him into the special waters of the river Styx. She did this to make him immortal. Thetis held Achilles by his heel and forgot to wet this heel and this became his weak spot…
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Homers Achilles
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ic characters that resemble Homer's Achilles. Homer's Achilles was a great hero. When he was born as a mortal, his mother, Thetis, dipped him into the special waters of the river Styx. She did this to make him immortal. Thetis held Achilles by his heel and forgot to wet this heel and this became his weak spot. Achilles was invulnerable except for his unprotected heel. He was a brave warrior whose angry emotions helped him on the battlefields. Homer's Iliad has its first two lines describes Achilles' great anger which propelled him to wreck destruction upon his enemies;
'Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus' son Achilleus
and its devastation, which put pains thousandfold upon the Achians,.......'
(Lattimore 59).
Archilles' anger is comparable to Euripides' character, Heracles, who was also motivated
by anger to kill. Heracles offended the gods when he traveled down into the underworld
and they punished him by making him insane with anger. Heracles' anger was artificially
superimposed on him by the goddess Iris. He was overcome by the personality of
Madness and he killed his own wife, Megara, and his children in his mad rage. Heracles
was said to have equal success with females and males in the area of sexual prowess.
Achilles differed from Heracles in this area because he was more famous in his
relationship with a male called Patroclus. Heracles was not killed in battle but he suffered
serious injuries and desired to die. He asked Philoctetes to place his body on top of a
funeral pyre and torch him. In this way, Heracles wanted to die and committed suicide
with the help of Philoctetes.
Achilles was killed by Paris of Troy who was avenging his brother Hector's death. Paris has been termed a coward in some literature because he took advantage of Archilles' weakest spot and killed him by an arrow to his heel.
Sophocles' Greek character, Philoctetes, resembles Achilles because he was wounded in his foot. His injury did not cure. Philoctetes was about to participate in the Trojan war when he was bitten by a snake on his foot. He suffered great pain and the wound smelled bad. His superior, Odysseus, betrays him and leaves him behind on an island called Lemnos. It seems Philoctetes' has an 'Achilles heel' too because his weak spot on his foot refused to heal. However, Philoctetes, unlike Achilles, does not die from his foot injury. It seems that the pain in his foot was linked to his reception of Heracles' bow. For when Neoptolemus tried to deceive Philoctetes and steal his Heracles' bow, the pain in his foot magnified. Neoptolemus took pity upon him and returned his bow. Philoctetes fought in the Trojan war. As a reward from the gods, his foot was cured of pain, smell and disease.
Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus. She was a brave heroine who tried to bury her slain brother Polyneices, against the orders of Creon, Haemon's father. Her lover, Haemon, defended her actions and committed suicide after her death. Haemon's mother, Eurydice, killed herself because of grief. Creon gives up his life to his enemies. Antigone has died by her own hand while Achilles was killed by his enemy. It seems the feminine Antigone does not resemble Achilles except that they both had great love relationships with their lovers.
I would choose Sophocles' Philoctetes to be the tragic hero who best resembles Homer's Achilles.
Works Cited.
Lattimore, Richard. The Iliad of Homer by Homer. USA: Phoenix Books, 2006. Read More
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