Heroism in Greek Mythology

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One of the key concepts that is manifest in Greek mythology is heroism. In reviewing the historical and geographical context of myths and their heroes, such as Hercules, Odysseus, Hector, and Achilles, this essay aims to show that their lives has been predestined to fail with tragic ends. Despite the god-like features that the heroes possessed, they all encountered problems like any other human being would encounter, which led them in the end to experiencing suffering and in many circumstances, terror.

The heroes in Greek mythology endured obstacle after obstacle while searching to achieve their goal (need), and in so doing many of the tales demonstrate how hard and impossible their goals have been in every sense, mostly connected with death and widespread physical and mental pain.

One of the stories that illustrates this, it is the story of Hercules. Son of Zeus with a female human being. Zeus’ wife, Hera, conspired against Hercules throughout his life. An example is how she delayed his birth in order to prevent him from becoming a king. Hercules suffering is also evident in his 12 labors where he had to fight against monster to save his own life. He fought against different monsters in the world such as Hydra the serpent and Nemean the lion. His death was also tragic as he was poisoned and burned alive by his enemies. Despite his fame, the life of Hercules indicate the problematic life that heroes in the Greek methodology live.

The story of Hector is also an indicator of the difficult life that heroes face. Being a Troy prince, it was his role to protect his kingdom and family. The actions of his younger brother led to war forcing him to go the battlefield despite having a young family (MacLeod, 1982). The prophecy that he will die in the battle also hung in his head showcasing the difficult life that he lived. At one time, his wife tried to prevent him from going back to the battlefield as he feared he would be killed. Achilles later killed Hector even after outrunning him. He faced a tragic end to his life.

The story of Achilles also indicates the tragic life that Greek heroes faced. Despite the fame that he received due to his battle prowess, he suffered constant episodes of anger and sadness throughout his life. An example was when his commander at the Troy war, Amagnon, took his girlfriend leading him to leave the battlefield (MacLeod, 1982). He also faced a high level of sadness when Hector killed the best friend, Patroclus. He went into a killing spree as a way of avenging his friend, and he was later killed in the shores of Troy. His death and life showed how most Greek heroes lacked happiness in their life despite the fame they had in their society.

The story of Odyssey also indicates the sufferings that Greek heroes faced. His journey home after the Trojan War shows how Odyssey suffered as gods punished him due to his transgressions and the transgressions that were caused by his men. An example is how a high number of his men were killed in Cicones after they attacked the city and plundered its wealth (Stanford, 1947).

Odyssey suffering is also evident throughout his journey where he was unable to go back to his family as the god Zeus was punishing him for going to the war in the first place. The sun god Helios also killed his crew after they died and feasted on his animal. Only Odyssey survived from the incident. However, he suffered much by witnessing the death of all his team that they had gone to war with.

The numerous challenges that heroes face are also evident in the story Odyssey when he reached his home in Ithaca where he found that some of the servants had conspired against him. He had to disguise himself as a beggar to identify the people who were loyal to him as his wife Penelope was also willing to accept the proposal for other suitors after she was convinced that her husband was not coming back. This indicated how he was disappointed as he did not receive the homecoming that he was expecting after being away from home for ten years. The death of Odyssey is also tragic as his son Telegnous killed him.

After surviving the war voyage, he was mistakenly shot by his son who was unknowingly stealing his father cattle. When Odyssey came to defend his property, he was stabbed by a poisonous arrow that Telegnous hand. His death and his life showed the challenges that most of the Greek Heroes faced where they could not live to old age and live happily with their families. They faced profound challenges as both gods and mortal men were against them.


Cite this paper

Heroism in Greek Mythology. (2020, Dec 13). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/heroism-in-greek-mythology/

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