The Odyssey

Mediocre Men

Things are not always as they seem. A hero may be more than the sum of his deeds, or perhaps much less. Throughout Greek mythology, heroes wage war and titans clash, often resulting in the praise and immortalizing of the names of great men who triumph in glory. However, when examined closely, that glory may be undeserved. The heroism of Akhilleus and Odysseus in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey is simply a byproduct of the intervention of the gods.

One of the mightiest warriors in The Iliad, Akhilleus, is well known for his courageous actions and headstrong, unwavering leadership. To many, he seems to be part god, and the gods usually favor him, perhaps because they see something familiar in him. However, Akhilleus' courage and valor are only a facade that masks the true directors of his action.

After a heated argument with Agamemnon, Akhilleus plans to kill his foe right away, yet the goddess Athena steps in to advise Akhilleus to put away his sword, saying: "Here is my promise, and it will be kept: winnings three times as rich, in due season, you shall have in requital for his arrogance. But hold your hand. Obey" (138). Clearly, it is Athena that is responsible for this wise decision that later gives...

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