Homer's Heroic Code Term Paper by Champ

Homer's Heroic Code
This paper explores which character is the real hero in Homer's "Iliad".
# 98495 | 3,243 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2007 | US
Published on Sep 28, 2007 in Literature (Greek and Roman) , English (Analysis)

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The paper examines the heroic code of Homer's "Iliad" and how heroism is defined. The paper demonstrates how this definition of heroism undergoes a gradual change during the course of the epic. The paper discusses how a hero is not someone who is all virtuous and perfect, but is someone who is courageous despite his flaws and weaknesses and who believes in improving. The paper illustrates how Achilles, therefore, fits Homer's code of a hero more than Hector.

From the Paper:

"Iliad is Homer's masterpiece not only because it deals so many varied elements of ancient society but also because it offers a comprehensive commentary on heroism and what makes a real hero. To decide whether Achilles or Hector was the real hero, we need to see how they were presented and what is it that makes their characters unique and special. Homer's Iliad presents the oldest yet most enduring picture of hero and heroism. Who is a hero and what constitutes heroism are questions that Iliad answers but in a manner which may not appeal to modern sensibilities. For us today, a hero is a man who is sensitive, courageous and responsible with compassion for the community. However apart from courage, no other attribute mattered for construction of a heroic figure in Greek epics of ancient times."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abusch, Tz. The development and meaning of the Epic of Gilgamesh: an interpretive essay. The Journal of the American Oriental Society; 10/1/2001;
  • Cedric H. Whitman, Homeric Character and the Tradition, Homer and the Heroic Tradition. 1958 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Harvard University Press: From : Harold Bloom: Homer's the Iliad. Chelsea House. New York. 1987
  • Gregory Nagy, Poetic Visions of Immortality for the Hero The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry . 1979 Johns Hopkins University Press. Harold Bloom: Homer's the Iliad. Chelsea House. New York. 1987
  • Homer, Iliad, Translated by Richard Lattimore (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1951).
  • Jean-Pierre Vernant, "A 'Beautiful Death' and the Disfigured Corpse in Homeric Epic," in Mortals and Immortals: Collected Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991).

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