Achilles: A Hero For Every Man
A hero is generally a human being or a major fictional character who, against all odds, combats insurmountable odds through great deeds of courage, ingenuity, or personal strength. Just like other previously only gender-defined terms, hero can be used to describe any sex, although hero only seems to apply to women. In popular culture, most often the term hero is used to describe superpowered characters (usually men), but some also prefer to use the word hero to describe a heroic situation. It could just as easily be used as a description of a perilous situation for which the protagonist is the hero, which is why it is important to understand the differences between hero and villain.
The definition of a hero should ideally come from classical literature. The classical period is generally referred to as the age of heroes. This period started after the fall of the Roman Empire, and the main characters hailed from Greece, Rome, and Egypt. In Greek mythology, several characteristics of a hero from these periods are often identified; for instance, heroes were often unusually beautiful, while villains were vicious, evil, courageous, and skillful. Both types of characters were also often very similar, being usually both human and part animal.
Today, many researchers believe that some qualities unique to a specific hero are innate, and others are learned traits. For instance, some researchers think that the ability to endure great mental pressure and hardship is innate, while others believe it is acquired through training and other psychological factors. Still others believe that some behaviors are hardwired into all humans, while others believe that heroes have simply developed a certain set of behaviors over time to be more effective in facing challenging situations. No matter what researchers believe about the nature of heroism, it is important to recognize that there are many different types of heroes in the world, each acting heroically out of instinct, faith, and necessity, whether or not they believe it to be true.
There is another concept regarding heroic behavior, which can be called classical hero worship. In this view, heroes are viewed as exemplary human beings, exhibiting qualities such as courage, fairness, purity, and moderation. The classical ideal of virtue was associated with the Greek hero Homer, who was famous for using poetic phrases to depict his deeds. Homer’s character Achilles faced many challenges in his role as the Trojan prince, yet he still remained a beloved figure to many Greeks and Romans.
Achilles is perhaps the most well-known Greek hero, and his image graces many jewelry pieces, clocks, and even key chains. Aristotle defined Achilles as the greatest Greek hero ever. According to the Greek legend, Achilles had to flee from his native land, because of an epidemic, and he hid alone for nine years on a boat, surviving only on food and water. When he finally reached Troy, he was put to a crossroads by Hector, who wasius, and Paris, leader of the Trojans. Achilles chose to fight against Hector in single combat, but to no avail; Hector defeated him and took him to his countryside, where his mother awaited him. However, when Hector escaped, Achilles stayed and fought in the Trojan Wars.
Achilles eventually married Helen of Troy, and they had three daughters. Later, when the Persian king Cyrus invaded Greece, Achilles helped the Greeks against the Persians, becoming a favorite hero among all generations of Greeks and Romans. His image appears on all kinds of trinkets, including bracelets, knives, and rings. His reputation reached the east as far east as China, and in ancient India he was worshiped as a god and considered the father of the human race, as well as the provider of immortality. Achilles was also a favorite character of William Shakespeare, whose play The Divine Comedy emphasized his goodness and played as an essential part of the story.