Achilles: A Modern Day Hero

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Although the word “hero” has transcended time, the definition has not. When modern-day humans go into reading about Greek heroes, expecting them to resemble our current ones, they are unpleasantly surprised to find selfish people who sometimes indiscriminately murder in the name of honor. In comparison, we value the firefighter that puts their life on the line to save others, the person standing up to the bully with pacifism rather than fists, and those that learn to forgive and forget instead of spending their entire lives seeking revenge on those that have wronged them. Thus, Achilles would not be considered a modern-day hero like he was in ancient Greece, because whilst they valued glory, brutal strength, and revenge, today we value selflessness,…show more content…
Throughout Book 22, Achilles tries again and again to chase down and kill Hector, and is finally able to do so. Before he actually kills Hector, he tells him “I wish my stomach would let me cut off you flesh in strips and eat it raw for what you’ve done to me” (Iliad, Book 22, 384-86). Shortly after Achilles allows the Greeks to stand around and continually stab the corpse of Hector. However, not even this brutality satisfied Achilles. Eventually, he ended up completely disgracing Hector’s dead body in front of all of Troy, tying him up to a chariot and dragging him around, being “defiled in his own native land” (Iliad, Book 22, 449). His only redemption after this section is the fact that he allowed Hector’s parents to give him money in exchange for their son’s corpse so that he could be properly buried and sent off to Hades. All of this violence, especially the parts towards the already dead person, was not even acceptable towards the Greek. The comparison would be that with this level of brutality, most modern-day people would view Achilles more as a villain than a hero after this. His actions here provide no redemption in modern…show more content…
Book 21 focused heavily on setting up for the audience and everyone around him that the entire reason he was there was to avenge his best friend and make sure that everyone responsible paid for his death. One particular quote caught my attention as being a good explanation, stating “No, you’ll all die, die ugly deaths, until you have paid for the Greeks’ loss, for Patroclus dead, killed by the ships while I was away” (Iliad, Book 21, 141-43). He also exposes his motive for why he feels he must avenge Patroclus- he feels responsible for not being there when Patroclus died, possibly able to prevent him from meeting such a fate. Now he is taking out his anger over Patroclus’ death on all Trojans and refuses to show any of them mercy. Going beyond just seeking revenge, he’s also continuing to partake in the aforementioned brutal violence. Not every single Trojan killed Patroclus, but he wants to kill each one all the
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