Achilles and Odysseus

It just isn’t unknown that people look up to heroes and even try to emulate their actions; however, there is a relevant question that must be asked to find a way to facilitate an intensive understanding of what differentiates a hero—from someone who is merely preventing for himself. According to Aristotle’s Politics (9), “[… ] he who is unable to reside in society, or who has no want because he’s adequate for himself, must both be a beast or a god: he is no a part of a state.

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” While it could not seem to be quite apparent, however this explicit line in Aristotle’s Politics tacitly implies that males who possess extraordinary characteristics and goals, corresponding to heroes can be in comparison with either gods or wild animals. Since they’re heroes, they don’t need the help of different people (self-sufficient) and are indifferent from their group, they do not seem to be completely different from wild animals.

While it can be said that the epic heroes discussed on this explicit critique have contributed to their respective time and place, it is necessary to look at how they were in a place to contribute, and whether such contribution, indeed, was something deserving of reward and adoration.

If one is to analyze Achilles and Odysseus in light of Aristotle’s philosophy, it would be realized that there is rather more to a hero than simply defeating his adversary. There is a distinction with what makes an individual a hero, a god, and a beast.

Discussion: The Comparison Between Achilles and Odysseus According to John Miles Foley’s A Companion to Ancient Epic (77), a comparison between Achilles and Odysseus is important in understanding not solely Greek epic, but additionally the concept of a hero and his relationship to his group in a “specific historic time and place” (Foley 77).

The distinction between these two heroes is that whereas Achilles’ personality is monolithic, Odysseus’ persona is many-sided.

It is also seen in the Iliad and the Odyssey that “while Achilles achieves his epic supremacy as a warrior, Odysseus achieves his personal type of epic supremacy in an alternative means, as a grasp of crafty stratagems and cunning intelligence” (Foley 79). If one is to take Aristotle’s line concerning heroes as wild animals into consideration, it will be seen that Aristotle may actually have a logical point, notably owing to the truth that Achilles’ anger was the main explanation for the countless issues the Greeks encountered as they pursued their warfare with the Trojans (Foley 79).

According to Robin Sowerby (247), though Achilles is taken into account an epic hero, this doesn’t take away the truth that he had been a compulsive hero, who had been unable to control his anger, thus, her endangered not solely himself, but in addition his loved ones and his personal country. His cussed attitude in doing what he wished resulted, then, in deaths and additional suffering.

It isn’t unknown that Achilles had an excessive quantity of delight, horrible mood, and resentment which was boiling deep within him, all of which may have clouded his judgment (Sowerby 247), thus, hindering him from correctly functioning as a part of a team through the war. He fought for himself and he fought on his personal; however, “it is on no account easy for one man to superintend many things; he should appoint a variety of subordinates” (Aristotle 74) so as to get a job accomplished properly as a substitute of doing everything on his personal.

Needless to say, Achilles’ irrationality, mood, and desire to defeat his adversary alone had been his weaknesses. If one is to research Achilles’ characteristics in Aristotle’s perspective, these could be the explanations to contemplate this hero as both a beast or a god; although it would appear as if Aristotle could be leaning towards the outline that Achilles was a beast, somewhat than a god.

It should be understood that to Aristotle, everybody has their very own position in a state, in a group, and if a person chooses to not act on his duty—and prefer to be unpleasant and stubborn like Achilles as an alternative of working with different people towards a typical aim of the neighborhood, then he is not part of that neighborhood, and due to this fact, he should either be a beast or a god. But if one is to investigate Achilles in light of Aristotle’s discussion, it’s only logical to say that Achilles had been a hero who was more of a beast than a god.

According to Aristotle (73), “passion perverts the minds of rulers, even when they are the most effective of males. ” This statement is particularly true, if one fastidiously analyzes Achilles’ character. His temper and his pride has made him do horrible mistakes that can not be undone. His ardour, his will to turn out to be a warrior, to prove that he was sturdy and he can do every thing on his personal without the help of other people, eventually corrupted him and resulted in tragedy.

Odysseus, however, is the polar reverse of Achilles. According to Douglas Olson’s Blood and Iron: Stories and Storytelling in Homer’s Odyssey (52), though he is prominently generally known as the man who tried to keep away from wasting his fellowmen and dismally failed and returned home empty-handed, the fault must not be attributed to him. It is understood that the sailors he needed to convey back to their properties perished throughout their journey home—but not because Odysseus was a nasty chief and he was unable to deal with the accountability.

It must be clear that their own demise was their very own fault; their wrongdoings had to be punished. This was an occurring theme within the Odyssey and should not be mistaken for a failure of this particular Greek hero. In analysis, if Odysseus have been an irresponsible chief as people make him out to be because of the deaths of the sailors, then he would not be succesful of lead his country properly as a good king. In reality, earlier than the occasion that they’d to travel by sea, Odysseus had proven to be a really accountable chief to his crew.

When his males were hungry, as an alternative of sending them out to hunt whereas they have been tired, he let them sleep and did the hunt himself for his men. He was capable of kill a stag and carried it to their camp in order for his men to find a way to eat a feast the following day (McCaughrean 32). While it seems as if he was like Achilles who wished to do things on his own, Odysseus was different within the sense that he wanted to look out for them, and believed that they deserved to relaxation their drained bodies, so he allow them to, and hunted meals for them.

He was merely appearing the means in which a leader ought to towards his followers, in comparison with Achilles who wanted to work alone and infrequently subjected individuals around him to irrational bursts of temper. In Odysseus’ story, there was no Hector to be defeated—only sailors who’re disobedient and Penelope’s (Odysseus’ wife) suitors who flocked round her when they presumed that Odysseus was already useless. Although Odysseus needed to be crafty so as to overcome struggles, his tale was extra of a fight with rules and morals somewhat than a battle with swords and shields.

Of course, it’s largely debatable as as to whether which is the far more difficult battle, but no matter which is more difficult, the purpose is that in contrast to Achilles who most popular to work alone and refused to be a great leader, Odysseus was as much as the job and understood what it meant to be a leader to his people. Odysseus cannot be deemed a god, for he knew what it was to stay in a society; he knew that he wanted different individuals despite his qualities as a hero, he was prepared to lead his individuals, as properly as fight and sacrifice for them.

Summary As seen in the aforementioned dialogue, Achilles and Odysseus had their very own methods to battle their battles. While it’s on situation that arguments will come up to whether such epic heroes have accomplished the appropriate means to win their battles, it cannot be denied that Aristotle made sense when he acknowledged that “desire is a wild beast” (Aristotle 73). It may not appear a lot to lots of people however such a easy phrase incorporates a large reality that can’t be averted.

Individuals who let themselves be absorbed by their desires often discover themselves weak in creating moral selections, for desire often tempts man into doing what he needs and never what he ought to. As seen within the comparison between Achilles and Odysseus, one should finally ask: Who is the better hero? Who is the beast? Is there a god? There is Achilles who fought and received for himself, for his need to kill his adversary, not for his folks, whereas there is Odysseus, who failed to bring his males residence, however he tried to guide them the finest way he could.

While Achilles was a beast, it cannot be stated that Odysseus was a god—for Aristotle’s statement was undeniable: in order to be part of a society, must one know one’s place. It is not about self-sufficiency, it was about helping one another and figuring out which place to take and fill in. A actual hero, apparently, is not the one who can’t be likened to a god, for he isn’t self-sufficient, and he wanted others; neither can the actual hero be likened to a beast, for he doesn’t merely fight for himself—he fights for others.

The hero is the one who tried, failed, and but, was still in a place to lead his folks onward.

Works Cited

  1. Aristotle. Politics. South Dakota: Nu Vision Publicationas, LCC. Print. Foley, John Miles. A Companion to Ancient Epic. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2005. Print. McCaughrean, Geraldine. Odysseus. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  2. Print. Olson, Douglas & Homer. Blood and Iron: Stories and Storytelling in Homer’s Odyssey. The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1995.
  3. Print. Sowerby, Robin. The Augustan Art of Poetry: Augustan Translation of the Classics. New York: Oxford University Press Inc. , 2006. Print.