Odysseus vs. Achilles: What makes a hero?

             The characters Odysseus and Achilles were two great warriors who were renowned for very different reasons. Odysseus for his quick wit, cunning, and wisdom, which led to the end of the ten year Trojan War; and Achilles for his fierceness, determination, and skill on the battlefield, which led to massive numbers of casualties on the Trojan side. Both men wound up larger than life with heroes tales, but they went about it in vastly different ways. As the chronologically straightforward plot in The Iliad suggests, its hero Achilles is also very direct and straightforward. He isn't much on planning, choosing instead to rush in headstrong and fight to the end. He can afford to do this as he's virtually incapable of being killed. Some would say he cannot therefore be a hero, as heroism requires the possibility of the loss of ones own life, but Achilles was warned that his life would indeed be taken if he reentered the war, he chose death. Achilles wanted to die in battle with a glorious name for himself, but he was actually catapulted back into the war to avenge the death of his murdered friend Patroclus. He knows he will die and he does so in a blaze of glory, killing every Trojan that crosses his path including the killer of his dear friend Patroclus, the great Trojan warrior Hector. It was only by accident and divine intervention that the foolish Paris felled Achilles with an arrow to his unprotected heel. This could all seem well and good for Achilles' plans for fame except that we find out in The Odyssey that Achilles is regretting his decision to die young and glorious as he lives a useless and uneventful life in Hades.
             It isn't easy to compare the two lives completely equally as we don't know what Odysseus' life is like in the afterlife, but it's safe to say that he didn't feel like his life was squandered on making a name for himself. The story of Odysseus is told in a jumping about manner th...

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Odysseus vs. Achilles: What makes a hero?. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 04:48, September 28, 2023, from https://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/9635.html