greekessay - Joshua Daniel A.N Athanassakis Classics 40...

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Joshua Daniel A.N. Athanassakis Classics 40 Achilles and Hector: A Contrast of Two Heroic Models War brings out the best and the worst of people and this was no different with the legendary Trojan War that pitted the Greeks in deadly combat with the Trojan defenders. During the war, two opposing heroes would stand head and shoulders above their allies and leave their mark in history. The Greek hero was a man blessed by the gods, feared by all, and a servant to his own rage; this was Achilles, the son of Peleus, and leader of the Myrmidons. On the Trojan side was his rival, who was a completely different type of hero. Hector, son of King Priam, was the defender of Troy and as long as he lived Troy would stand. He was not led by rage or vengeance but instead duty. As the son of the king, he would defend his city or die trying. Both Achilles and Hector had similar qualities and prowess in battle but at their core they were two different men that left different legacies in their wake. Achilles was cast from a different mold than his counterpart, Hector. From the very beginning of his life, he was destined for greatness and despair at the same time, and much of his success would be due to his parents. His father was Peleus, a great warrior of his own, with a knack for escaping trouble who became the king of the Myrmidons (Parada 7). Some of Peleus’ famous deeds including subduing the slippery shape-shifting goddess Thetis, who married him afterwards, and traveling besides the Argonauts with Jason. His marriage to Thetis was known to be one of the most famous because he was a mortal and she was the daughter of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, and therefore a
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goddess in her own right. Many gods and goddesses made an appearance and lavished gifts upon the two. This is where Peleus received from Chiron the ashen spear and from Poseidon his pair of immortal steeds that Achilles would later wield and ride into battle with (Homer 237). Achilles would not go into battle without his spear of Pelian ash that was so heavy it was said only he of the Greeks could lift it into battle. Xanthus and Balius, his immortal horses bore him into battle, and Xanthus was even granted speech by Hera to foretell him of his death before being permanently silenced by the Furies (Homer 237). Silver-foot Thetis was one of the fifty Nereides and she had the gift to prophesy as well as the ability to change her form at will (Athanassakis 17). Thetis was also very instrumental in making her son, Achilles, one of the greatest heroes in history, perhaps even more than Peleus. Between the two parents, they provided everything that Achilles needed for battle. As a child, Thetis would hold Achilles in the fire in order to burn away his parental traits and make him immortal, but when Peleus found out, Thetis left in a fury (Aldrich 117). This is how Achilles became near invincible, his only weakness being the fateful spot upon which Thetis held him in the fire: his heel. Thetis was highly
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greekessay - Joshua Daniel A.N Athanassakis Classics 40...

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