Heroes In the Iliad certain heroic characters play major roles in the battles even though the reader knows that many more common soldiers must be involved. The heroes, however, are presented literally as greater human beings than the ordinary warriors.
The honor of every person in Homeric culture was important, but to the hero, his honor was paramount. He could not endure insults, and he felt that he had to protect his reputation — even unto death.
The hero's duty was to fight, and the only way he had of gaining glory and immortality was through heroic action on the battlefield; thus, he continually prepared his life for the life-and-death risks of battle. The Homeric hero believed that men had to stand together in battle; men had to respect each other; and they had to refrain from excessive cruelty.
This last condition was critically important for the Homeric hero. He loathed deliberate acts of cruelty and injustice. If he were ready to kill a victim, he believed that he should do it quickly; he was not to mutilate him, as Achilles does with Hektor's body.
By following this code, a hero gained a sense of dignity and a reputation for honor that would ensure his place in the social memory of his community. The Homeric hero lived by strict social and cultural norms that would guide his life at home and on the battlefield. His position as a hero depended upon understanding his place in society and performing in accordance with society's expectations.
He accepted the pattern of a hero, which included a hero's suffering and a hero's death. When the hero expressed himself in words, he believed that his thoughts were derived from either society or a god. Nothing came from within. In his soliloquies, the hero speaks to "his own great-hearted spirit" as though it were another person helping him make the right decisions.
Communal honor was vital to the Homeric hero's status; his whole world revolved around his relationship with his family and city. If he lost the personal honor or glory that was accorded him by his community, he felt that life had lost its meaning. Achilles, for example, feels that he has lost his honor when Agamemnon takes Briseis from him.
He feels a sense of rejection, and even Agamemnon's later offer of gifts in order to bring Achilles back to the fighting is futile because Achilles realizes that he will lose even more honor if he accepts Agamemnon's gifts. The hero's social responsibility was essential to maintain his status, but the only way to establish his status was through his performance as a hero in combat on the battlefield.
Furthermore, he had to show respect for and respond to social situations and mores; he had to respect his superiors and show loyalty to his friends, and he could in no way disgrace himself, his family, or his community.
However, it was no disgrace to withdraw from an impossible situation because it was all a warrior could do at times. Patroklos, however, forgets this principle, as well as Achilles' warning not to drive the Trojans back to their city.
Patroklos fails because he becomes irrational and allows pride to overcome his reason. The Homeric community depended upon their heroes to defend its social and religious rites and all other facets of community life.
Being a hero was a social responsibility that entitled a man to social status, and a warrior defined and justified his social status only on the battlefield. The hero in Homeric culture recognized the rightness of his community's anger.
For example, when Agamemnon strips Achilles of his war prize, Agamemnon places the responsibility for his actions on Zeus and Destiny.
He says, "It is the god who accomplishes all things" and he claims that "Delusion" entangled him. Similarly, when Achilles ponders whether or not to draw his sword against Agamemnon, Athena grabs him by the hair and warns him against fighting with Agamemnon.
Clearly, Achilles does not assume responsibility either for his anger or for his not killing Agamemnon. In fact, neither Achilles nor Agamemnon recognizes a personal responsibility for their emotional and physical responses, even though both men are on the edge of violence.
To the Homeric hero, an outside force initiates action and thought — hence, personal responsibility is not an issue for a hero's decision to follow the dictates of an outside force.
A hero always had two choices: He could follow an external force, or he could make his own personal decisions. This idea derives from the concept that a man became a hero because he possessed certain qualities.
Among those qualities is heroic balance, which requires a hero to insist upon his greatness and maintain a proper modesty before the gods. He had to know himself and be able to evaluate and act upon a situation.
He also had to recognize the time when the gods withdrew their help, and at that time the hero had to withdraw from battle.
If he failed to recognize how much his action was ruled by the gods, he lost his heroic balance and made a tragic error. If he failed to follow the gods and made his own decisions, he had to live with the shame of his mistake, and when he erred, he lost approval and honor.
The hero's fear of disgrace aidos governed his response to all social situations and to the judgements of others.The Characteristics of Homeric Hero in the Iliad by Homer The Iliad outlines and explains the features of a Homeric Hero.
The Homeric hero strives to be the very best among his peers. Arête is achieved by one’s actions, generally in battle and is a combination of qualities such as courage, honour (‘time’) and sacrifice.([good] Homeric heroes possessed these qualities and they were recognised by the audience of the epics.
In the Iliad certain heroic characters play major roles in the battles even though the reader knows that many more common soldiers must be involved.
The heroes, however, are presented literally as greater human beings than the ordinary warriors. Some may have a divine or semi-divine parent, though. Jun 29, · The Homeric Hero Thetis Bringing Armor to Achilles by Benjamin West Additionally, what are the chief characteristics of Homer's Heroes?
Remember that we are looking at the concept of heroism in its objective form.
Homeric Iliad is a kind of complement to Bible. The main characteristics of the Iliad such as Achilles, Hector. The notion of personal honor is prevalent throughout the timberdesignmag.com honor of every person in Homeric culture was important, but to the hero, his honor was paramount.
The allegorist Theagenes of Rhegium is said to have defended Homer by arguing that the Homeric poems are allegories. The Iliad and the Odyssey were widely used as school texts in ancient Greek and Hellenistic cultures. They were the first literary works taught to all students.