Arrogance Of Greek Heroes Essay

1489 words - 6 pages

Arrogance of Greek Heroes

Often readers will criticize the champions of classical and medieval epics for egotism. Critics cite examples from the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and Beowulf of conceit and egocentric behavior. Odysseus, Aeneas, and Beowulf display a well-known arrogance befitting their accomplishments. The motivation for this arrogance, to complete these tasks, to perform these feats, is often over-generalized to the point of inaccuracy and confusion. One must not let such misinterpretations interrupt the humanization of these characters. Through the examination of the desires and behavior of these epic heroes, we can discover an underlying need for recognition or honor. In classical and medieval western epics, the hero’s desire to complete a given quest is fueled by their desire to gain or maintain honor or fame.

The first hero to be considered is one of the original Greek champions. Odysseus, often characterized as a braggart and self-centered, displays all the traits of a man doing his best to leave his mark. He will never take the simplest of routes to solve a problem; he would much rather use his cunning and inventiveness to contrive a plan that exploits the weaknesses of his foe and uses all the resources at his disposal:
“‘God help me!’ the man of intrigue broke out…
‘Come weave us a scheme so I can pay them back!
Stand beside me, Athena, fire me with daring, fierce
as the day we ripped Troy’s glittering crown of towers down.
Stand by me—furious now as then, my bright-eyed one—
and I would fight three hundred men, great goddess,
with you to brace me, comrade-in-arms in battle!’”(l.437-47, VIII)

Odysseus would rather orchestrate a plan that ensures a total elimination of the suitors than simply march straight into his house and risk battling a hundred angry men unannounced. Odysseus frequently takes the smarter, more impressive route, in an effort to make his cunning known. In Troy, he elected to follow the advice of the gods and, risking his life in the city, he manages to steal the Pallas effigy! When the Cyclops Polyphemus captured him, instead of succumbing to fate or attempting to break free by force, he dupes the giant with wine and blinds him with a hot spear! His exploits, though certainly incredible, and almost always necessary, are always made more dangerous and fantastic by his involvement. When escaping Polyphemus, his pride drives him to tell his name, guaranteeing that the Cyclops will let his deed be known:

“’…again I began to taunt the Cyclops—men around me
trying to check me, calm me, left and right:
“So headstrong—why? Why rile the beast again?”
…So they begged,
but they could not bring my fighting spirit round.
I called back with another burst of anger, ”Cyclops—
if any man on the face of the earth should ask you
who blinded you, shamed you so—say Odysseus,
raider of cities, he gouged out your eye,
Laertes’ son who makes his home in Ithaca!”’”(l.548-62,...

Find Another Essay On Arrogance of Greek Heroes

Diomedes: One of the Finest Greek Soldiers

1056 words - 4 pages In The Iliad, by Homer, many of the characters can qualify as the Greek definition of a hero. In this epic, a hero is not solely represented as the most valiant warrior but rather on other characteristics that can be admired. Diomedes possesses these characteristics that represent a hero on and off of the battlefield. Thus, he is one of the greatest heroes of the entire epic. To the Greeks, besides being a skilled warrior, a hero contains

The Fall of A King Essay

953 words - 4 pages and his lover’s eventual. One of the earliest known tragic heroes is the Greek king, Oedipus from Oedipus Rex. He has many self traits that bring him to his end. In Sophocles’s revolutionary play Oedipus Rex, the protagonist Oedipus suffers a tragic downfall from glory due to his arrogance, stubbornness, and blindness to the obvious. Oedipus’s arrogance increases his ego causing a negative outlook on life as he thinks that no one is giving him

Black Fate- Analysis of Aeschylus' The Persians

929 words - 4 pages personality of the Greeks while the Elders reassured her of their army's success. When Atossa was about to leave to make sacrifices to the gods, a herald entered the palace with horrific news. The Persian forces was decimated by the smaller Greek forces at the Salamis, almost all of their heroes were dead, but Xerxes was still alive. Upon hearing the description of the battle's carnage, the Elders and the Queen Mother broke out into agony and

Tragedy, Closure, and Society: Agamemnon

1014 words - 4 pages . Greek audiences longed to see these heroes acting out events that led to their downfall on the amphitheater stage, just as we like to see action heroes and hopeless romantics on stage and screen when the close of the last scene leaves the viewers appeased and satisfied with the ending. Agamemnon, in Aeschylus' story, is depicted as this sort of true to life tragic hero. He goes off to war, is given praise and honor by his community when he

Account for the different interpretations and perspectives of the Battle of Salamis as described by Herodotus, Aeschylus and Plutarch

1177 words - 5 pages the pro-Athenian bias, e.g. "These two officers (Persians), as I say, had some success; but the greater part of the Persian fleet suffered severely in the battle..."Like other Greeks of his time, he believed that arrogance would result in punishment from the gods, and he used this to explain the Greek victory. While he did not give all the credit to the gods, he did not completely remove their influence - rather, individual's actions and not the


604 words - 2 pages the teache rcan be mean. im done ryhiming here yes it was fun whyll it lasts but i better get started on my paper before my moms beating my ass:) GREEK MYTHOLOGY, set of diverse traditional tales told by the ancient Greeks about the exploits of gods and heroes and their...GREEK MYTHOLOGY, set of diverse traditional tales told by the ancient Greeks about the exploits of gods and heroes and their...Article Topics Introduction, Principal Figures in

the iliad

740 words - 3 pages and steals the beautiful wife of Menelaus, Helen. This instigates the fighting again. Throughout The Iliad, Homer tells of two heroes', both similar, but also very different in their character; the great and powerful Greek, Achilles, and the strong, loving father, Prince Hector of Troy, and amongst the story, many insight of Greek culture is revealed.In Homer's The Iliad, Hector and Achilles differ as heroes in regards to pride, duty, and family

Different Greek Heroes

1422 words - 6 pages strong character, growing up with stories of the great heroes of the Greek nation like Achilles. The Greeks heroes we know today, are the symbols of the Greek Ideal. Heroes come in all different shapes and size, with different battles. A hero to me, from my understanding of the Greeks, is a person who puts others on top, lives noble, and with passion and love for what they do. Every hero leaves behind a story and is remembered.When looking at the

A Man Defeated By His Flaws

1229 words - 5 pages equal in Greek society. Heroes in historic Greece, for the most part were left only for men to achieve. Men fought battles for their country, their families and for wealth. Women, however, were thought to be “heroes” if they were obedient to their husbands, loyal to their families and live a quiet and noncontroversial life. Antigone’s rebellion and Creon’s insistence to punish her by death to protect his reputation as a ruler and enforcer of

Tragic Hero King Creon in Sophocles´ Antigone

723 words - 3 pages As George Orwell once mentioned,” A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him”. Similarly in Sophocles, Antigone, King Creon can be regarded as a tragic hero despite of his staged villain role; because it is his arrogance and power that destroys him. Although one can argue that the hero of the play is Antigone and that the play is centered on her

Ancient greek heroes

595 words - 2 pages The Irony of Being A Hero Heroes played many roles in Greek mythology, where several people were tried and admired in a variety of ways. The Greeks consider heroes as people who go on an extraordinary journey, completing an impossible task, and being courageous. According to the Webster's Dictionary, the definition of a hero is a man who is admired for his achievements and qualities, but the definition varies in the perspective of different

Similar Essays

The Tragic Fate Of Greek Heroes

1093 words - 4 pages The Tragic Fate of Greek Heroes The hero stands as an archetype of who we should be and who we wish to be. However, the hero has inherent flaws, which we do not wish to strive towards. In literature, these flaws are not used as examples of what we should be but rather as examples of what not to be. This is especially dominant in the Greek hero. The Greek hero battles fate with excessive pride and intelligence, yet follows his fate, making

Hercules: The Greatest Of The Greek Heroes

1348 words - 5 pages Hercules, or known in Latin as Heracles, was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of masculinity. In art, Hercules was portrayed as a powerful, muscular man wearing lion's skin and armed with a huge club. He was also described as being a macho man buffoon, who was very impulsive. Hercules’ home and birthing place is in Thebes, Greece. Thebes is a city in central Greece. It plays as an important setting in many Greek myths, such as the

Odysseus,The Hero, Homer Essay

536 words - 2 pages god or a perfect man, his positive points wouldn*t be special or great. When his weak points get him into trouble, his strong points rescue him. For example, his impulsiveness with Cyclops almost destroyed him and his companions but his bravery and clever strategy were able to save almost all of them.As a result we have been that even though Odysseys has negative characteristics, he is one of the classic Greek heroes. [email protected] points compare

Shakespeare Tragic Heros Essay

627 words - 3 pages The name "tragic hero", which has become synonymous with Shakespearean dramas, was developed before Hamlet, Macbeth or any of Shakespeare’s well-known plays were written. The literary term was actually discovered around 330 BC by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Through his theory of catharsis, Aristotle debated that the great plays of Sophicles, Euripides, and other Greek playwrights contained tragic heroes similar
#239 - Battle Through The Heavens 239 9 hours ago | Puma Business Plan - 438 Words | Michael Carter