Heroes, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Monsters


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | English Language and Literature


Around the late eighth or early seventh century B.C., a poet, known to later ages as Homer, composed two epic poems that tell the tales of the Trojan War, The Iliad and The Odyssey. The Iliad tells the story of the rage of Achilles, the great Greek warrior, while The Odyssey tells the story of the coming home of Odysseus, the King of Ithaca, from the Trojan War. A study of both epics reveals that constructs portraying various values, such as the characteristics of heroes, have remained the same from the times of ancient Greece to the present day. However, modern interpretations of ancient Greek epics also portray new/ altered constructs of values in their creation of heroes, such as equality. The topics of fate, mortality, and religion in the epics are reviewed and debated. The character of Achilles, as to whether or not he is a true hero, is also subject to debate. Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey argue that heroes possess the qualities of pride, selflessness, glory, and bravery; both text and film adaptations of these original works exhibit the same characteristic of heroes, while the monsters of these ancient Greek epics represent the adverse, innate qualities that we flawed humans possess.

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