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In todays world, the term hero conjures a myriad of characteristics most notably bravery, determination in the face of odds,

and selflessness. These attributes m ay also be ascribed to the Virgilian and Homeric heroes, Aeneas and Achilles. Ho wever, in antiquity, the heroic codes involved not only these qualities but grea ter levels of nobility, honour, pride, courage, suffering, leadership, respectin g the divinities, a duty to fight for ones country, and kleos, by winning booty a nd by risking glorious death. For the Virgilian hero, there was an added attribu te, that of piety which entailed fighting not only for ones country, but for fami ly, community and the gods. The question posed, who is the more admirable hero, Achilles or, Aeneas requires careful thought by balancing what each hero offered Achilles in response and Aeneas to the are expectations both on missions of the heroic to fulfil codes. a prophecy however, their mot ives are different fighting to achieve them. Achilles is promised a prophecy of glory - kleos, by his mother if he chooses to aid the Greek cause in the Trojan war along with his Myrmidons; he is inspired by the prospect of being remembered in history for being a ruthless, intimidating warrior carrying off prizes to di splay his courage and dying gloriously and honourably in war. Whereas Aeneas is fighting not to win prizes for himself or, to be remembered in history, Aeneas go al and fate is to secure that the Trojan race live on in the form of Italians, a nd to found a people destined for greatness. Aeneas mission must preclude glorio us death if he is to achieve his goal. This would indicate that Aeneas is the mo re admirable hero due to his motive being more selfless; he wants his son Ascani us to have a good life in Italy and to honour the task set out for him by the go ds. Indeed in questioning which of the two is more admirable, a further question It ofis leadership clear that ofAchilles men springs is ato highly mind.respected and revered soldier and leader, but his motives are selfish and thus his men are of little concern to him; he is willing for them to die if it is helps his cause for kleos, with the exception of his young friend, Patroklus. Achilles perceives his men as disposable and when he is caught up in his tantrum due to the fact that Briseis has been stolen fro m him, he fails to prevent Patroklus from leading the Greeks out to war and dyin g at the hands of Hektor. Furthermore, whilst Achilles may show excellence in ma rtial prowess, he lacks a sense of obligation to his community; this is shown wh en he prays to Thetis for the destruction of the Achaeans and by the fact that h e withdraws from the fighting to wallow in his own personal concerns and to make a stand against Agamemnon. Therefore, it could be suggested that Achilles is ca reless, and lacks self-control and honour, traits he does not possess. But these are traits integral for heroes to possess. The wrath of Achilles is evident fro m the start of the epic, the first word of the Illiad is, anger and inherent in th e personality that Homer conveys of him, is a sense of bloodthirsty behaviour at any cost. At the end of book 20, we are told, the son of Peleus pressed onwards, urgent to win glory, with blood spattering his invincible hands. Other examples of Achilles lack of honour of the heroic code may be seen when he refuses to re-e nter the battle despite pleas from Odysseus, Phoenix and Ajax and when he eventu ally does give in, his motive is pushed on by a desire for vengeance and not pie ty. Other chilling episodes that portray Achilles not as less admirable are in t he scenes in which he has piled up the River Scamander with dead and mutilated c orpses and his in his execution of twelve young Trojan men. These examples show a merciless killer, a marauder and qualities that are not in keeping with a hero . At first Aeneas is portrayed in a similar vein to that of a Homeric hero and sim ilar to Achilles. He is reckless, brave and raging to fight the Greeks in Troy. He needs reminding of his destiny, first by Hektor, then Venus that he must aban don the futile fight and move on. Aeneas is slow at first to do so but then obey s. Later he is portrayed as a more measured individual, in comparison to that of the self-indulgent Achilles. He is one who exhibits great concern for his men a nd shows strong leadership qualities. Immediately on crashing at the land of Li bya he subdues his own feelings of anguish in a highly stoical and pragmatic way in order to hunt for food for his men. He kills deer and his men do not go hung ry. The sense of community spirit is exemplified in this act. He is not motivate d by a sense of personal honour but by what the Fates have doled out for him. Fu rthermore, Aeneas is leading his men for the greater good. He must to take them to Italy so that they can enjoy a life in a, new, Troy and have their descendants

carry on the race. His personal desires are abandoned, when temporarily he loses sight of his destiny at Carthage with Dido. On leaving Dido in Carthage on inst ructions from Mercury, Jupiters messenger, Aeneas gives orders to his men to prep are to set sail recognizing the need to fulfil the destiny expected of him. In d oing so, he secures the future generations of Romans and fulfils his national ro le. Aeneas is seen here as possessing exemplary qualities to achieve nationhood and civilisation and ultimately peace. There is no doubt however, that Aeneas do es have to fight and endure struggles to achieve his mission. He is tested, firs t in Thrace, then in Delos. When he has setbacks he rises again to fulfil the Fa tes. Aeneas aton; he comes however, to life iswhen not his simply furor a dull is at autom its most extreme and he kills Lausus Therefore, and Mezentius is the andRoman then hero latermodel Turnus more hisrespectable main opponent. and admirable? The key featu re of a Virgilian hero is someone who upholds pietas, i.e. fights for their coun try, family and gods. Aeneas upholds all these qualities. This is encompassed pe rfectly in book 2: when Troy is burning he goes out to try and fight the Greeks spurred on by his will to save his nation and the people in it. He fights for hi s family when he carries Anchises on his back out of the ashes of Troy and also when he rushes back into the burning city to try and find his lost wife Creusa. Aeneas loyalty to the gods is clear when he heeds the advice of his mother Venus who tells him not to kill Helen but instead to flee Troy and fulfil his destiny. He avoids empty heroics by following her advice and by turning his back on veng eance, recognizing that it is wrong, that it would only avenge the sacking of Tr oy and not enable his and his peoples destiny. He also makes sure to take his hou sehold gods with him out of Troy, thus showing reverence and respect. The Greek hero which Homer presents in the Iliad is a doer of deeds, Achilles does not think before he acts but rather prefers to talk with his sword and kill as many peopl e as possible. However, Homers heroic image is not simply of a raging warrior int ent on genocide, his portrayal of Odysseus was more a speaker of words, and it is clear that Achilles lacks this quality. He does not use wit or speeches to his a dvantage and therefore it could be said he is not as complete a hero as Aeneas w homis It encompasses not to sayall however, the features that Aeneas of a and Virgilian, Achilles Roman, are different ideal hero. in every respec t. In fact, much the opposite, since many of Virgils ideas were drawn directly fr om the ideas of Homer. On closer reflection, it becomes evident that Aeneas and Achilles do share a number of similar experiences and indeed attributes. For exa mple, Evander endows Aeneas with immortal horses, this is clearly based on the f act that Achilles owns immortal horses, the same is true of the shields each pos sess. Whilst this does not highlight their similar personalities, it is a parall el which Virgil Moreover, a parallel has sought may beto drawn include. between the acts of vengeance of both Achilles and Aeneas. At the funeral games, Achilles sacrifices twelve Trojan youths whil st Aeneas takes eight young men to be sacrificed. Virgil has handpicked the best features of Achilles and attributed them to Aeneas, and has left out the less d esirable features toning down the amount of furor in Aeneas which Achilles expre sses. Another similarity both heroes possess is a deep caring for their fathers; Achilles weeps when Priam attempts to persuade him to hand back Hektors body, an d this shows Achilles softer side as he is deeply moved by the thought of Peleus. This is a clear parallel which Aeneas shares since he puts on extravagant funer al games in memory of the death of Anchises. The chase scenes too are similar, A chilles pursuing Hektor and Aeneas in pursuit of Turnus. The simile used to crea te imagery Where thereof iseach a direct scenedifference is similar. between Both heroes the two, areis intent that it on could killing. be argued t hat Aeneas is less heroic than Achilles by saying he is, a puppet of the gods. Aen eas conforms to all the gods commands, whereas Achilles is a rebellious hero, dea d set on fulfilling his own destiny. At one point he even fights with a river go d, this is in strong contrast to Aeneas utmost respect for the divinities. Howeve r, Aeneas is seeking to accomplish his duty of pietas which includes fighting fo r the gods, and so if he did not carry out the gods will, he would not be the typ ical In conclusion Roman hero. it is evident that Aeneas is the more admirable hero since he upho lds all the qualities according to the Virgilian heroic code, not only as a doer of deeds and a speaker of words. Whilst he is not as exciting in some respects as Achilles, whose unpredictable, maverick nature makes him so, Aeneas is an honou rable warrior and a man willing to go all out in order to accomplish his task of setting up a home for the Roman race that will descend from him, his son and hi

s people. Who Bob is the more Worsley 13e admirable hero? Mrs Hone Achilles or Aeneas C.C.

May 2013