by Scott from Canada

"... Unequal is your birth, my son, and only on your mother's side is the way of death barred for you."
-- from Thetis to her son Achilles

For my essay I have chosen Achilles. I chose him because whenever I have read an article about him, it makes him sound like both an invincible god of war and a vulnerable human at the same time. I think that he was a hero for three main reasons. He was highly skilled, he was famous, and he was flawed.

I think that he was a hero because he must have been highly skilled to have won many battles. For example, “he captured twenty-three towns in Trojan Territory.” And, if he wasn’t skilled, he wouldn’t have been able to capture so many towns before his death. I also think that he was highly skilled because he managed to kill famous warriors. One account of this was when “he returned to the fighting and killed Hector.” If Achilles wasn’t skilled, Hector would have won and not Achilles. The last reason that I think Achilles must have been a highly skilled warrior is because “Achilles, then fifteen years old became the Leader of the Myrmidons.” He must’ve been highly skilled to have become the leader of an army at such a young age. In conclusion, he was highly skilled because he won battles, killed great warriors, and lead an army.

I think that Achilles was famous because he was believed to have been favoured by the gods. In fact his mother, Thetis, once said to Zeus, “Avenge my son, Olympian Zeus, lord of counsel; and give might to the Trojans, until the Achaeans pay him due respect, and magnify him with recompense,” and then, “Zeus both listened to this prayer and granted it.” I think that being favoured by the gods made Achilles famous because back then religion was integrated into every single part of life and every Greek believed in the same thing. So, being favoured by the gods made everyone think that Achilles was closer to the gods than anyone else and, therefore, gave him a godlike status that made him famous. He was also famous because he was the son of Peleus, the king of Phthia, and Thetis, an immortal sea nymph. So, he was famous because his parents were famous. The final reason that he was famous was because every time that he killed another great warrior, the word spread and with the word came both fear and fame. In short, he was famous because he was affiliated with the gods, was related to famous people, and was feared because of his skill.

The final reason that I think that Achilles was a hero is because he was flawed. One of his flaws was when his mother left him in the care of the centaur, Chiron. “Achilles proved to be a difficult task. For when the boy had forever left his tender years behind him, he started wandering wherever he pleased, disobeying his teacher, and indulging in what he thought to be a good time, plundering the homes of neighbouring centaurs, stealing their cattle, and provoking a growing anger in the whole province.” This means that he was a bad kid, which is a flaw. He also gave into temptation and, at the same time, ignored his mother’s warning when he killed Tenes in anger, which is another flaw. His final flaw was when “Patroclus was slain by Hector, the greatest Trojan warrior. Enraged, Achilles returned to the battlefield, slaughtering everyone in his path.” He killed Hector in a state of rage, which is one of the seven deadly sins.

Achilles was a hero because he was highly skilled, famous, and flawed. It is important that he was highly skilled because it allowed him to win battles, kill great warriors, and gain control of an army. It is important that he was famous because his fame made him remembered for over three thousand years. And it is important that he was flawed because it gives him a human quality. I don’t think that a true hero should be flawless because, without any flaws, the hero is invulnerable and, therefore, doesn’t need to be brave, which, in my opinion, is the most important trait of a hero.

Page created on 3/23/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/23/2005 12:00:00 AM

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