Essay Example on Avi Ross Literature and Composition Stokol D Track

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Avi Ross Literature and Composition Stokol D Track January 19th 2018 Question One An Age of Heroes The Ancient Greeks defined a hero as an individual aided and favored by the gods and who acts in bravery There is no greater embodiment of this definition than the hero of The Iliad Achilles In Robert Fagles translation of Homer s The Iliad he sets these standards when speaking to his goddess mother about his imminent demise I ll meet my death freely for not even Hercules fled his death for all his power favorite son to Zeus The Iliad 18 137 140 In Robert Fagles translation of Homer s The Odyssey the bravery of Odysseus s deeds is not as obvious Upon closer examination however the deeds of Odysseus can be seen as brave and he is seen as favored by the gods proving him to be a Greek Hero Though at times frightened Odysseus always acts in a brave manner this is especially highlighted in The Kingdom of the Dead where Odysseus overcomes his fears to finish his goal Odysseus accounts his initial reaction stating the grim display as great armies of the dead wrapped in bloody armor thousands swarming around from every side unearthly cries with bleaching terror gripp ing me The Odyssey 11 45 48 Homer intentionally lays out a grim and menacing scene to explore the depths of Odysseus s bravery Graphic displays of bloody armor and great armies of the dead are intentionally used to invoke the trauma the Trojan War The imagery of Odysseus being swarmed by bloodied shades furthers the notion of fear as it shows how trapped Odysseus is If that were not enough Odysseus explicitly describes himself as gripped with terror proving how effective this scenario is in frightening Odysseus 



Especially since terror is used with the connotation of beyond just fear Nevertheless he continues with a sharp sword beside his hip alert never let ting the ghosts near the blood The Odyssey 11 53 55 This illustrates bravery as even though Odysseus is frightened he holds a sharp sword indicating his readiness to fight the source of his fear and finish his goal He stands there determined to stand his ground never letting the ghosts prevent him from meeting Tireses Given his unwillingness to yield as shown by the absoluteness of the word never and taking into account how Homer specifically creates a scenario that forces Odysseus to relive his trauma Odysseus shows a high level of bravery This display of bravery supports the claim that by the Greek definition Odysseus is a hero The second facet of Greek Heroism favor of the gods is no clearer than in Odysseus s battle with the suitors in Slaughter in the Hall In this battle Odysseus is directly aided by the disguised Athena Testing his bravery Athena disguised as Mentor says to Odysseus Come old friend stand by me see how Mentor kills your enemies The Odyssey 22 244 246 Athena without using her godly powers just yet stands besides Odysseus with the intention of kill ing his enemies The consequence of this being she is actively fighting beside him in order to kill the suitors This is direct aid from the goddess proving at the very least she favors his intention She additionally addresses Odysseus as an old friend which is an homage to their relationship which has been proven at several points of The Odyssey where Athena has shown a liking to Odysseus If that is not enough when the suitors hurl their spears Athena sent the whole salvo wide off the mark allowing for Odysseus and his allies to counter attack with their own spears The Odyssey 11 269

First of all this assistance proves that Odysseus showed enough bravery to be worthy of Athena s aid further going to support that Odysseus is a hero Secondly Athena is specifically credited in this quote as the cause the suitors missing meaning she now is directly influencing the fate of the battle in favor of Odysseus The use of salvo instead of a word connoting a less coordinated attack demonstrates that without the aid of Athena the magnitude of the attack would have been lethal to Odysseus and his allies Athena by this point is not only saving Odysseus s life but also intimidating the suitors by having their shots miss wide off the mark The addition of wide demonstrates a degree of excessiveness which Athena being the goddess of wisdom does with a strategy By casting doubt in the suitors own abilities she emboldens Odysseus and his allies and frightens the suitors making them easier to overcome This excessive aid proves that not only does Athena favor Odysseus intentions but has an interest in his wellbeing fulfilling the second criteria of being a Greek Hero Throughout The Odyssey Odysseus has proved through his deeds an unwavering bravery and the gods Athena in particular have shown him their favor This allows Odysseus to join with the likes of Achilles and Hercules and take his rightful place in the Pantheon of Greek heroes The Greek definition of a hero has laid the foundation for contemporary and fantasy definitions of heroism That being said the Greeks noticeably did not set moral standards for what a hero is to be Odysseus s deeds and actions may not hold under the modern idea of heroism Regardless in order to mitigate the bias of time and examine the Odyssey as intended the acts and deeds of Odysseus must be compared to the definition of the time


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