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    The Concept of Heroism in the Classical Greek Literature

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    War is mostly considered a masculine sport for it celebrates strength, stamina, and virile courage. However, the word hero is actually derived from the Greek heros which means warrior, protector, defender, Heros is actually related to Hera who was the protectress of marriage; hence one concludes that heroism is not exclusively masculine but also feminine.

    The best way to explore the Greek perspective of war is through its mythology, religion, and philosophy. Renowned warrior epics emerge as a result of Greek society’s regard for war. One must also note that the Greek society was also one of conquest. The Greek army has been famed Spartan warriors who were gifted in martial techniques. Greek religion used mythological stories to emphasize the gods’ incitement and cooperation in warfare.

    Characters such as Hercules, Odysseus, Achilles, Jason, and Perseus give an outline on the expectations of a Greek epic hero. Socrates, though a sedate philosopher, engaged in the Peloponnesian war. At the same time war is feminized in the Greek Amazonian heroines who were as brave as their male counterparts for example Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons and Andromache, another female warrior. Athena is the goddess of war, just as Ares is her male equivalent.

    The heroism of war proceeds from the values of courage (facing fears), herculean strength, war intelligence, and supernatural power. The Greek warriors always sought their oracles for directions on war: when to wage war and how to wage war. Hercules, Odysseus, Achilles, Jason, and Perseus have to face redoubtable enemies who often possess superhuman power; yet they manage to overcome these challenges to win battles. Epics such as The Iliad and The Odyssey describe valiant conflicts portraying wars between not only man versus man, but also man versus gods.

    The present concept of war remains the same since movies such as Alexander, Three Hundred, Troy, Braveheart, and countless other films based on epic wars top the charts. The definition of the hero today remains that of one who has great strength (either moral or physical) and has sacrificed much so that others can benefit. The typical hero is represented as a sort of demi-god who has done the impossible and is not applied to ordinary, everyday people.

    The disregard and transient honor for the heroic contributions of men even the soldiers who participate in war tell how the image of the hero has sunk. Nevertheless, initiatives through organizations who decide to highlight the sterling achievements of men and women who have saved lives, at their own risk continue to be headlined in the news and regular shows. Usually a medal, some money, and a memorial are means that are used as the payment for heroic service.

    To conclude, heroism has changed yet has remained the same. The heroic icons that are touted in Hollywood inspire the public to do heroic acts. While men and women everyday surrender a lot and never receive so much as a token. This treatment is hearkens to the nostalgic idealism of classical Greek literature.

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    The Concept of Heroism in the Classical Greek Literature. (2022, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/the-concept-of-heroism-in-the-classical-greek-literature/

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