The Iliad - "Achilles' Rage"

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mcgriddles
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Journal Essay #3 When the reader first opens Homer's epic poem The Iliad, the author's very first line states the poem's main premise: "Achilles' rage" (1); if that doesn't tell the reader anything, it's also the title of the first book. However, I've noticed that many people still find it difficult to determine who the heroic protagonist is in The Iliad. That's because the audience today doesn't believe that their view, of what constitutes a heroic protagonist, coincides with the typical heroic protagonist of the Ancient Greeks. Yes, contemporary readers will all probably agree that Achilles possesses a couple of the characteristics, that would make him a heroic protagonist (i.e. being extremely brave, ambitious for honor, physically strong, etc...). However, Achilles also possesses some less thought-of characteristics, that might cause contemporary readers to arguably disagree with Achilles being an heroic protagonist. Given all criteria that makes up an epic poem's heroic protagonist, and that The Iliad is considered an epic; I'm going to have to say, that (while others display qualities of heroic protagonists) Achilles is the most heroic protagonist of The Iliad. Some of the more controversial characteristics, that make Achilles the perfect candidate for being the most heroic protagonist include: ambition driven by glory and immortality, he fights something or someone god-like, he has a known companion, he has an outward physical element that's very prominent, he is feared by a god, has many of character flaws, he makes a sacrifice, and his character undergoes a transformation linked with the journey he embarks on. Achilles' ambition for honor, immortality, and glory when he speaks of his two fates: "If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, / My journey home is gone, / But my glory never dies. / If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, / my pride, my…...

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