Criteria for Heroes

Essay by floxin27University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2004

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For individuals to be seen as heroes in ancient world they had to meet specific criteria. Above all, a man needed to be a skilled warrior, who had to respect authority, both governmental and religious. Heroes were given no room for pride, they were to be modest, not only giving credit to their culture and the gods for any great deeds they had done, but also accepting everything that happened as fate, not scenarios they had created for themselves. In other words, they did not make themselves who they are, rather they had been predestined to become it. The final requirement of being a hero was composure. Heroes were not permitted to be blinded by rage or have mood swings.

Perhaps the greatest example of Achilles fighting skill is when he fights with and kills Hector, the greatest of the Trojan warriors. However, this fight may have never happened if Athena had not disguised herself as one of Hectors brothers and convinced him to fight.

Achilles fails miserably at respecting anyone in authority, whether governmental or religious. He not only disrespects King Agamemnons authority, but also the goddess Athena herself. This lack of respect begins when Achilles calls an assembly of the Greeks, something only Agamemnon was able to do. He then proceeds to insult the king, telling him he is greedy, shameless, a cheater, and a drunk. To top it off, Achilles contemplates drawing his sword to strike down Agamemnon, and is only stopped by Athena grabbing his hair. Needless to say, killing the leader of your nation would be the ultimate act of disrespect to the government. Although he does so badly with respect for government authority, Achilles has no problem respecting human religious authority, only because he has no encounters with priests, prophets, and etceteras. However,