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The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad Essay

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The Epic Education of Achilles in Homer's The Iliad


Dr. Fly’s comments: This paper was well-organized and developed; the thesis was argued in a logical fashion; material from primary and secondary sources was well-documented and integrated smoothly into the text; the author’s style was clear, with varied and sophisticated sentence structures and concrete vocabulary; and the paper demonstrated excellent command of grammar and mechanics.
 
Within the annals of epic literature, the celebrated role of "epic hero" has always been present, heralding the poem's themes through the actions of a single, extraordinary protagonist. Strong and courageous, he is caught within the nets of mortality, and, at times, he may struggle to replace his worldly desires with celestial knowledge. In profound ways, he can even embody the mythological ideals of a civilization, and, through his many perilous adventures and profound encounters, the course of his identity may shift in focus towards something greater than himself. Through this change in his character, one can observe the universal plight of humanity in greater detail and discover how one must overcome certain obstacles to understand the complex nature of the gods. In Homer's The Iliad, such an "epic education" can be found within the account of Achilles, who, through his slow transition from an excessively angry brooder to a compassionate symbol of self-sacrifice, matures into a character that is more in tune with divine enlightenment.

At the beginning of The Iliad, Achilles is observed as being insulted by Agamemnon and getting caught within a web of anger; this state of rage distinguishes the ignorance of his character at the beginning of his "education." The pinnacle of t...


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...elf that lay beyond the superficial weaknesses that plague the journeys of all men.

Works Cited

Clark, Matthew. "Chryses' Supplication: Speech Act and Mythological Allusion.” Classical Antiquity 17 (1998): 5-20. Expanded Academic ASAP. Online.LOUIS.28 Nov.2001.
Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1991.

Redfield, James M. "The Wrath of Achilles as Tragic Error." Essays on The Iliad: Selected Modem Criticism. Ed. John Wright. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978. 85-92.

King, Katherine C. Achilles: Paradigms of the War Hero from Homer to the Middle Ages. Berkeley: U of California P, 1987.

Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984.


Van Nortwick, Thomas. Somewhere I Have Never Traveled: the Second Self and the Hero's Journey in Ancient Epic. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.


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