Heroes Representation in Greek Mythology

Categories: Myths

Heroes are commonly known as men who able to across barriers or boundaries which are viewed as impossible for mortal human. They often violate geographical, physical and moral boundaries, which point out their ability to change or move to other location easily compare to mortal men. Some of the heroes are known as who are able to cross the boundary of life and death easily and able to go back to home.

Odysseus is one of the famous examples of hero who come across to the boundary of life and death.

Segal argues that Odysseus and his men were classified as “twice dying”, where Odysseus alone crossing the barrier of death and return back to the living world.

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This shows that hero able to overcome the barrier of moral boundaries with the ability that they got. Also, another example of hero overcome the barrier is Orpheus, who decided to enter the underworld in order to bring his wife, Eurydice back to the living world. Beside overcoming the barrier of the living and underworld, travelling across the region also one of the aspect that the heroes can possibly succeed compare to mortal human. Heracles is a good example for showing that heroes are men who able to travel to different location and got strengths and power to complete the task. In killing the Cacus in the Palatine Hill shows that he got the strength and power to fulfill the achievement that he got and this shows that he is different compare to the mortal men where they don't have that strength to kill the monsters.

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Papadopoulou described Heracles that he “was ambivalent” and “a power hero and dearest to Zeus” and also argues Heracles’ “heroism not in terms of his physical strength but in terms of his spiritual qualities”, which shows that difference between Heracles and common men where common men doesn't have spiritual qualities and the physical strength, where heroes in the Greek mythology have these aspects. However, when heroes across the boundaries they often receive some challenges that they have to overcomes it, such as Orpheus cannot look back when he brings his wife from the underworld. This shows that sometimes may connect to the divine relation that the heroes got with the gods, and it got the contrast between mortal people and the heroes, where heroes are more lean to gods.

Greek mythology heroes have divine relationship between the gods, such as Heracles is the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman. Perseus is the son of Zeus and Danae and Achilles is the son of Thetis and Peleus. All of them are demi gods. This shows that their connection between the gods, such also shows that the difference between the heroes and humans, as they are demi god which is more akin to gods. In Greek mythology, heroes often got support from the gods when they are in their challenge or their quest that they are having. For example, Perseus got support from Athena and Hermes who gives advice and courage to Perseus before he challenges Medusa. They also give him advice that he must have a pair of winged sandal and a helmet that makes him invisible, which makes Perseus accomplish the quest of killing Medusa and brings her head. On the other hand, gods may have direct interaction with the heroes which may change their destiny for it. Suzanne Said argues that “in the Odyssey, it is Athena who intervenes most frequently to inspire thoughts in men that enable them to escape from difficulties.” Which in the Odyssey, if Athena didn't directly influence Odysseus’ mind, where “the goddess, flashing eyed Athene, put a thought in his mind” he may die when the great wave comes. Achilles is also an example of it, he cannot win alone during the Trojan wars, where he against the Xanthus River. He got support from Athena and Poseidon and he win the force for the Xanthus River. This shows that gods will directly interfere heroes’ life decision or their destiny in order to let them to escape the great disaster from them, which shows that heroes got the divine relation between gods compare to a mortal human who have no any help from the gods and divine relation between, where heroes are more akin to gods.

Updated: Feb 25, 2024
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Heroes Representation in Greek Mythology. (2024, Feb 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/heroes-representation-in-greek-mythology-essay

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