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Achilles to Jason

Autor:   •  September 11, 2013  •  Essay  •  1,036 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,022 Views

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A hero according to the Macquarie Study Dictionary is defined as “a person of distinguished courage and performance.” Whether or not this definition would have held up in Ancient Greece is a matter of discussion as the qualities and roles of heroes changed along with the times. From Achilles to Jason the idea of a hero changed greatly as the need if those who worshipped them also changed. Qualities once deemed necessary to become a hero were put on the sideline to allow a new type of man to stand in the spotlight. The different periods surrounding the time of the Ancient Greek hero can help to determine the qualities a hero had to possess as well as the reasoning behind those qualities. However, the archetype established by Lord Raglan seemed to be unwavering, not all points within the archetype were followed but by recounting the stories of these heroes one is able to determine that at least a few points that correspond. That being said the points on Raglan’s list are more experiences than qualities but it is through these experiences that the men are able to gain hero like qualities.

The qualities of a hero can be determined by the era they supposedly lived in. The Homeric era was a time of glory and honour, men fought for themselves rather than country and the qualities deemed necessary to become a hero were often revolved around self-importance and greed. Achilles perhaps one of the most well known Greek heroes goes to battle against the Trojans simply for the glory after his death. After having his prize removed from him by Agamemnon, Achilles sees this as a threat to his pride as seen by this quote from the Iliad, “It was not on account of the Trojan spearmen that I came here to fight, since they have done no wrong to me.” Kleos is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a heroes life during the Homeric era as a mans image was seen to be a representation of his value to others and himself. Achilles is a clear representation of this idea after having his kleros insulted and refuses to fight, “Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard. We are all held in a single honour, the brave with the weaklings…” The fact Achilles chose to go to battle for the glory all the while knowing he would die shows the dramatic importance of a mans kleros during this era. But some of these qualities deemed necessary during this time could be questionable to todays society. A black figure neck amphora signed by Exekias from 540-530BC presents Achilles slaughtering Penthesilea the leader of the Amazons. The slaughtering of a woman would be questionable today but during this time was seen as honourable when defending oneself. However, his military accomplishments are seen as an example of strength a necessary quality for the Homeric hero and without it could not be deemed as such. Achilles brags of his military prowess, “I, who am such as no other of the bronze armoured Achaians


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