Heroism In Mythology Essay Research Paper Heroism

Heroism In Mythology Essay, Research Paper

Heroism is an important element in both Roman and Greek mythology. Honored as a

man of cunning and a master of strategy, Odysseus is a beau ideal of Greek

heroism. Being a man of sacrifice, rational thinking, and discipline, Aeneas is

a praised counterpart to Odysseus. Both were victims of savagery and temptation,

examples of heroism and valor, and recipients of struggle and satisfaction. Even

when they are characters of different authors, they share common characteristics

and abide by certain personality traits that define them to be heroes. A hero,

almost by definition, is an example of heroism and intelligence. In times of

danger and desolation, a hero must remain strong, brave, and think of his

survival, as well as the survival of his men. Odysseus, being a man of many

schemes, intoxicates and blinds the mighty Cyclops, Polyphemus in order to

obtain a chance to escape. Odysseus acted calmly and bravely and thereby

succeeded in obtaining freedom from the dreaded Cyclops. Romans, however, praise

Aeneas for his rational and less extravagant thinking. When he and his men

encountered the blinded Cyclops, Aeneas’ crew simply rowed away in their ships

seeking refuge. Aeneas augmented to the definition of a hero by acting

rationally. Bravery, strength, tranquility, and rationale are a few

characteristics that appear from a hero at times of peril. Yet another

characteristic of a mythological hero is an unselfish attitude toward fulfilling

one’s function in life. "?Scylla caught my six companions, lifted them up

to her den, and threw their writhing bodies behind her into her hollow

cave?they screamed and reached toward me with their hands, begging me to the

last to save them, I watched the monster sit in the doorway of her den, and

devour them." (96) This rather gruesome scene depicts Odysseus allowing six

of his men to be consumed by the unimaginable barking monster. If his sense of

responsibility disappeared, he very likely would find happiness somewhere else

to evade this situation all together. Nonetheless, his duty was to bring as many

of his men as well as himself safely to Ithaca, raise his young son as a

warrior, and restore order in his kingdom. Aeneas also sacrifices his desires in

order to be the founder of the Roman race. "’Tell him,’ the lord of Olympus

commanded, ‘?He must set sail at once!’". Here Zeus commands Aeneas to

leave Dido and to go to Italy where his son will be the ruler of a new race.

Aeneas causes the suicide of Dido after he insists on his departure to Italy.

Aeneas has no choice; he cannot indulge in his interests while his

soon-to-become nation’s future is at stake. Both men show valor and commitment

by neglecting their desires for the future and well-being of others. Odysseus

with his bravery and Aeneas with his rational thinking exhibit authentic

heroism. Almost every piece of mythology has a hero or heroin because he/she

facilitates in the cohesion and flow of the story. Heroism is an essential

factor of Greek and Roman mythology as well as the basis for the reader’s



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