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Odysseus And Achilles

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Odysseus and Achilles

In Homer’s epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, Achilles and Odysseus are two characters that greatly encompass the human nature idealized by ancient Greeks. By studying the warrior’s thoughts, actions, and ethics, the Ancient Greeks expected to learn how to handle the various obstacles on the course of life. Throughout their quests, Achilles and Odysseus embody the physical, spiritual, and intellectual strengths and weaknesses that the Ancient Greeks observed, and used to go about their daily lives with triumph.
Both Achilles and Odysseus illustrate a vast amount of physical strength which the Greeks look upon as being necessary for the claim of respect, self-worth, and victory in the face of battle. Being half-God, the son of immortal Thetis, Achilles’ physical power is inherent. As “Zeus’s favorite fighter,” the young warrior is well known for his mightiness (166). The ability to lift his father’s spear that “No other Achaean fighter could heft […and that] only Achilles had the skill to wield” exemplifies his strength above all men (171). Even King Agamemnon envies the respect that the Gods pay him for being a “great soldier.” To Achilles’ face he claims, “I hate you most of all the warlords loved by the gods. Always dear to your heart, strife […] battles, [and] the bloody grind of war” (108). In battle, the great warlord conquers many men and claims to Odysseus, “Twelve cities of men I’ve stormed and sacked from shipboard, eleven I claim by land” (139). Achilles’ speed is also admired, for it gains him victory in battle. “The great runner,” being as swift “as the wild mountain hawk, the quickest thing on wings,” manages to frighten Hector, the foremost warrior of the Trojans, and sends him “fleeing along the walls of Troy” (180). Achilles’ use of his physical ability displays to the Greeks how being mighty earns respect, and having ...

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