Characteristics and portrayals of epic heroes and greek warriors

View Full Essay Words: Beowulf must destroy the monster our of revenge for the havoc on the Kingdom; the Greeks must avenge the kidnapping of Helen and the slights against their lands; the Knight, the Miller and the ife of Bath all must seek revenge for perceived wrongs. Poems like Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, and the Iliad and Odyssey, especially as oral tradition, frame the journey of the hero through trials and tribulations to, eventually success. The saving of society, though, is often met with grave personal sacrifice, sometimes of tangible wealth, more often of loved ones, or, in the case of Beowulf, the ultimate sacrifice -- giving up one's own life in the service of society.

Characteristics and portrayals of epic heroes and greek warriors

Admired through the ages as the ultimate epic, Homer's Iliad, along with its companion-piece, the Odyssey, was venerated by the ancient Greeks themselves as the cornerstone of their civilization. That these deeds were meant to arouse a sense of wonder or marvel is difficult for the modern mind to comprehend, especially in a time when even such words as wonderful or marvelous have lost much of their evocative power.

Nor is it any easier to grasp the ancient Greek concept of hero the English word is descended from the Greekgoing beyond the word's ordinary levels of meaning in casual contemporary usage. What, then, were the heroes of the Iliad? In ancient Greek myth, heroes were humans, male or female, of the remote past, endowed with superhuman abilities and descended from the immortal gods themselves.

This, the greatest hero of the Iliad, was the son of Thetis, a sea-goddess known for her far-reaching cosmic powers. It is clear in the epic, however, that the father of Achilles is mortal, and that this greatest of heroes must therefore be mortal as well.

So also with all the ancient Greek stories of the heroes: No matter how many immortals you find in a family tree, the intrusion of even a single mortal will make all successive descendants mortal.

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Mortality, not immortality, is the dominant gene. In some stories, true, the gods themselves can bring it about that the hero becomes miraculously restored to life after death - a life of immortality. The story of Herakles, who had been sired by Zeus, the chief of all the gods, is perhaps the most celebrated instance.

Characteristics and portrayals of epic heroes and greek warriors

It is only after the most excruciating pains, culminating in his death at the funeral pyre on the peak of Mount Oeta, that Herakles is at long last admitted to the company of immortals.

In short, the hero can be immortalized, but the fundamental painful fact remains: But it happens only on a symbolic level. The Odyssey makes it clear that Odysseus will have to die, even if it happens in a prophecy, beyond the framework of the surface narrative.

The gods themselves are exempt from this ultimate pain of death. When the god Ares goes through the motions of death after he is taken off guard and wounded by the mortal Diomedes in Scroll 5 of the Iliad, we detect a touch of humor in the Homeric treatment of the scene, owing to the fact that this particular "death" is a mock death.

Mortality is the dominant theme in the stories of ancient Greek heroes, and the Iliad and Odyssey are no exception. Mortality is the burning question for the heroes of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and for Achilles and Odysseus in particular.

The human condition of mortality, with all its ordeals, defines heroic life itself. The certainty that one day you will die makes you human, distinct from animals who are unaware of their future death and from the immortal gods.

All the ordeals of the human condition culminate in the ultimate ordeal of a warrior hero's violent death in battle, detailed in all its ghastly varieties by the poet of the Iliad.

This deep preoccupation with the primal experience of violent death in war has several possible explanations. Some argue that the answer has to be sought in the simple fact that ancient Greek society accepted war as a necessary and even important part of life. But there are other answers as well, owing to approaches that delve deeply into the role of religion and, more specifically, into the religious practices of hero-worship and animal-sacrifice in ancient Greece.

Of particular interest is the well-attested Greek custom of worshipping a hero precisely by way of slaughtering a sacrificial animal, ordinarily a ram. There is broad cultural evidence suggesting that hero-worship in ancient Greece was not created out of stories like that of the Iliad and Odyssey but was in fact independent of them.

The stories, on the other hand, were based on the religious practices, though not always directly. There are even myths that draw into an explicit parallel the violent death of a hero and the sacrificial slaughter of an animal.

For example, the description of the death of the hero Patroklos in Scroll 18 of the Iliad parallels in striking detail the stylized description, documented elsewhere in Homeric poetry Odyssey Scroll 3of the slaughter of a sacrificial bull: For another example, we may consider an ancient Greek vase-painting that represents the same heroic warrior Patroklos in the shape of a sacrificial ram lying supine with its legs in the air and its throat slit open lettering next to the painted figure specifies Patroklos.

Evidence also places these practices of hero-worship and animal-sacrifice precisely during the era when the stories of the Iliad and Odyssey took shape.

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Yet, curiously enough, we find practically no mention there of hero-worship and very little detailed description of animal-sacrifice. Homeric poetry, as a medium that achieved its general appeal to the Greeks by virtue of avoiding the parochial concerns of specific locales or regions, tended to avoid realistic descriptions of any ritual, not just ritual sacrifice.Full Answer.

Although most famous examples of epic heroes come from ancient or very old literature such as classical Greek or Roman poetry, the Bible or "Dante's Inferno," some examples of a hero with qualities similar to that of an epic hero can be found in modern and contemporary media as well.

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Honor & Glory in the Iliad: Since heroes are the essence of the society from which they come, Greek heroes live their lives according to honor and glory, in all their varied forms.

Honor and glory trigger an epic war that takes the lives of numerous men, and shape its . 6. Mortality is the dominant theme in the stories of ancient Greek heroes, and the Iliad and Odyssey are no exception. Mortality is the burning question for the heroes of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, and for Achilles and Odysseus in particular.

The human condition of mortality, with . Sabiduria, vol.1,1 Hero as a Reflection of Culture 1 Every culture has heroes. In works of literature, is an individual to be admired and emulated, and because of this he is the embodiment of the greatest virtues of the culture that.

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Characteristics and portrayals of epic heroes and greek warriors