Heroic Code in the Iliad and the Odyssey

957 words 4 pages
Heroic Code in the Iliad and the Odyssey

In Webster's Dictionary, a hero is defined as a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of purpose, especially if this individual has risked or sacrificed his life. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, the code which administers the conduct of the Homeric heroes is a straightforward idea. The aim of every hero is to achieve honor. Throughout the Iliad and the Odyssey, different characters take on the role of a hero. Honor is essential to the Homeric heroes, so much that life would be meaningless without it. Thus, honor is more important than life itself. Throughout the Iliad, heroic characters make decisions based on a specific set of principles, which are referred to as the "code of
…show more content…

When Odysseus found Achilles, Achilles was dressed as a woman, hiding among the maidens, and persuaded Achilles into coming to the Greek camp and joining their army. This shows that Odysseus was smart and very cleaver. Another smart and cleaver event took place when Odysseus came up with the plot to defeat Troy, using the Trojan Horse (Van Nortwick 87). A certain fire that drives both Achilles and Odysseus is revenge. Revenge is what could be the driving force in a hero's quest for total victory or could ultimately end in death. Achilles' soul is full of anger, and the death of Patroclus gives Achilles a deep sense of guilt, which does not cure him of his anger (Bowra 20). As mentioned earlier Achilles is not content with just revenge, he takes his actions a step further and dishonor's Hector's body. When Odysseus kills the suitors Homer does not go into any detail if what he did was justified or not. "The true heroic note is sounded by Odysseus when he forbids rejoicing over the dead suitors" (Bowra 22). There are many different forms of heroes in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The one thing that each hero tries to achieve is honor from the people who have put trust in them to keep them safe and protect them from enemies. Without honor, their life would be meaningless, unless their destiny proves