A Comparative Analysis of Odysseus and Achilles

1227 words 5 pages
A Comparative Analysis of Odysseus and Achilles
The Trojan War was more than a series of battles between opposing forces, it was the climax of an age of heroes. The retrieval of Helen brought together many of the mythological characters of that time onto a single stage. Of the thousands of brave men who fought at Ilion, two men stood above the masses, sharing the title of hero. They were born in the line of those on Mt. Olympus, favored by the gods. Excelling in courage and skill, adored by those who followed them into battle, the actions of Achilles and Odysseus achieved a high place in Greek mythology. Through analysis we see that Odysseus and Achilles were close variations upon the same theme. The similarities between Odysseus and
…show more content…

On many occasions Athena gives Odysseus a “godlike” appearance, while Achilles achieves this through his demigod birth. Achilles and Odysseus are both determined and steadfast in their decisions. We see Odysseus’ determination to find his way home throughout the Odyssey. Achilles determination shows when he withdraws from the battle in Book 1 of the Iliad, even with generous offering of riches as compensation for his lost prize Briseis. He also is determined to kill Hector, no matter what the cost. Another similarity between Odysseus and Achilles is how their motivations changed from The Iliad to The Odyssey. When Odysseys speaks to Achilles in the afterlife, Achilles has had a drastic change of heart in his motivation for living. He states “I’d rather be a hired hand back up on earth, Slaving away for some poor dirt farmer, Than lord it over all these withered dead.” (Odyssey 11.511-513). This stands in stark contrast to the search for fame that leads him to glory in The Iliad. Odysseus also has a change of heart. Initially journeying to Troy in the search of fame and riches, his motivations change as his return grows ever more difficult. Though he has the offer of fame and wealth with Circe and Calypso, Odysseus now values his return to home over material wealth.
Contrast between Achilles and Odysseus comes in the form of their heroic traits. While Achilles represents physical strength and prowess as the greatest