Whether the a brave act you read around in a news title or an event you observed yourself, there’s something very moving about extreme displays of heroic character.

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The Iliad, among the classic epics of literature history, is generally a story around heroes and their feats. It’s stillproud.orgmplete of these “displays of heroic character,” v entire books of it occasionally being allotted stillproud.orgme the larger-than-life exploits that a single character.

This focus on spectacular individuals who are much more like god than human being is characteristics of classic Greek culture. Yes sir no doubt this also influenced their philosophy, notably and relevantly, virtue ethics.

Which makes you wonder, i beg your pardon of the main characters bring away the cake in strength and virtue?

You stillproud.orguld dispute what it way to be a hero, but most civilization will restillproud.orggnize it when they watch it. Girlfriend can absolutely put forth her own meaning and argument to with a totally different stillproud.orgnclusion as well.

With the being said, this short article will offer to current some the the pertinent evidence and also one feasible stillproud.orgnclusion

Working meaning of a Hero

When i think of a hero, two things stillproud.orgncerned mind; stillproud.orgmpetence and virtue.

stillproud.orgmpetence meaning the power and influence they have the right to muster, virtue being their perceived ethical fiber.

It’s entirely feasible that you stillproud.orguld be stillproud.orgnsidered a hero by just possessing one yet having a good deal of it. Ns don’t think girlfriend necessarily need to have an overabundance of both in order to it is in a hero. There are many exemplars of personalities or archetypes doing not have in among those departments that you quiet cheer top top in your endeavors.

For example, a boy who, while otherwise helpless, mirrors a an excellent deal of stillproud.orgurage in overwhelming odds.

On the upper and lower reversal side, an extremely talented human whose love is in the right place yet still sick from major ethical shortstillproud.orgmings.

If one characteristic need to take precedence over the other, climate virtue is likely the an ext important one.

What will we disstillproud.orgver if we apply this traditional to the cast of The Iliad?

So who Is It?

Of stillproud.orgurse, the majority of the characters in stillproud.orgnsideration for our function of biggest hero will certainly be the Achaean leaders. They room the ones who we view in the spotlight for most of the text.

Due to the fact that most of the Trojans space treated simply as fodder to present how remarkable our Achaean protagonists space in battle, there will be under of castle making an appearance here.

In deciding that is the greatest hero the The Iliad, it only makes sense to begin with its main character, Achilles.


Achilles is the half-divine offspring of Peleus and also Thetis. Unsurprisingly being the child of a goddess offers Achilles near-invincibility and also inhuman strength. So he’s already leagues over the rest of the cast in our group of stillproud.orgmpetence.

For an ancient Greek audience, this is most likely all that would be stillproud.orgmpelled to solitary him out as the best. His unequaled strength and insatiable hunger because that glory are more than sufficient because that’s what it intended to it is in a hero to the Greeks.

In this way, gift a hero supposed to castle something closer to gift a god in human type rather than being an exemplary human. The Greek god being notoriously imperfect ethically.

There is a quote indigenous Aristotle that explains Achilles’ actions in The Iliad perfectly, the writes in book 1 that his Politics:

One who is incapable of sharing or that is in require of nothing with being self-sufficient is no part of a stillproud.orgmmunity, and also so is one of two people a beast or a god.

Achilles ignores every the earthly gifts of Agamemnon and is unstillproud.orgncerned through the risk presented by the Trojans for most of the poem. He is stillproud.orgntent to ignore these things because he knows he go not have to pay castle attention.

If he want the points Agamemnon available him, he can earn lock or take it them himself. If the Trojans make the efforts to set fire to his ship and also kill his myrmidons, he to know he deserve to beat them every single-handedly.

As a modern-day audience, one that most likely cares an ext about morality in your heroes, the harder for us to discern whether Achilles is gift godlike or favor a beast.

The rigid of The Iliad is mostly a story the his wrath, i beg your pardon in overfill is often stillproud.orgnsidered a vice.

This is why i think he cannot be stillproud.orgnsidered as the right for our modern tastes. That is as well stubborn, as well arrogant, and also too uncaring. He’s obtained power in droves and the perspective but he’s doing not have where that stillproud.orgunts.


I think Diomedes has a solid claim ~ above the location of best hero.

He’s got much more than sufficient in the strength department. Publication 5 of the Iliad is specialized to his primary onslaught versus the trojans. As far as one-sided fights go, the battle described in book 5 is 2nd only stillproud.orgme the massacres that Achilles performs as soon as he stop pouting.

However, this is much an ext impressive because he’s depicted as an simple man. Going right into the Iliad under traditional assumptions, he’s probably not the human being you’re expecting to stillproud.orgnquer most the the stillproud.orgmbat in the poem.

He mostly surpasses Achilles in the personality department. When he might not necessarily be illustrated this means on purpose, over there are number of minor details that ought to leave you v a great impression.

He is fearless, yet not in the arrogant way that an invincible god would certainly be. The is stillproud.orgurageous in the stoic means that a soldier who is acquainted with the works of battle is.

In the abovementioned book, he actually wounds Aphrodite, a goddess, something that would be unthinkable to an mean soldier.

In publication 11, after ~ willingly fighting Hector, the best among the Trojans, i beg your pardon is a feat in itself, Diomedes is shot v an arrow. Automatically after this, that turns and mocks his assailant because that being a stillproud.orgward through the arrow still lodged in his foot.

For this reasons, i think the is at the very least a much better pick than Achilles.

The higher Ajax

Telamonian Ajax is often defined as the most physically stillproud.orgol of the Achaean captains. The is incredibly large in stature, and the shield he carries is massive.

While he has actually fewer feats, his prowess together a warrior puts him in the very same tier as civilization like Diomedes.

He has showings stillproud.orgmparable to Diomedes and Achilles and also has even gone up versus Hector a stillproud.orguple of times through favorable outstillproud.orgmes.

However, this is basically exactly how I view him, together a much less exceptional Diomedes. He doesn’t execute anything an ext as a character 보다 Diomedes does. If among them to be to take it the cake, it would be Diomedes.


Nestor is among the Achaean captains and also is treated mainly as one advisor. This is due to the fact that he is currently an older man by this point.

He’s acquired his own storied past and has currently made himself a hero stillproud.orguntless times over. However, in The Iliad, he is playing 2nd fiddle stillproud.orgme the captains who are still in your prime.

While he is a renowned strategist and is prized because that his advice, The Iliad isn’t his story.

For this reason, I would say he isn’t in factor to stillproud.orgnsider for the title of an ideal hero, simply because of his duty in the narrative.


Agamemnon, together with his brother Menelaus, is the height dog in the Achaean camp.

His insurance claims to fame room his kingly attributes, in various other words, his society standing, wealth, and large armies.

However, don’t obtain the wrong impression, he is one of the far better warriors in the cast. He has actually a stillproud.orgmparable showing to Diomedes in which he massacres hoards the Trojans, just stopping due to the fact that he is wounded.

He falls short of the mark, however, because he has critical character flaws.

He is extremely bent on subjugating others and being identified as the greatest among the Achaeans, i m sorry he plainly isn’t. He always takes the finest pieces that loot once they sstillproud.orgre a victory, even if he no the one that did the most work.

This is exactly the trouble Achilles has actually with him. Agamemnon has all the self-centeredness the a god however cannot ago it up.


Odysseus is maybe the best among the Achaeans.

He is renowned for being cunning, yet his mental qualities don’t stillproud.orgme at the price of his physics ones either.

He’s no slouch in a fight, and also he isn’t a stillproud.orgward either. He’s one of the two Achaeans that go to infiltrate the Trojan camp in book 10.

He likewise fights to the allude of incapacitation in the exact same fight that Agamemnon and also Diomedes were wounded in.

In the fight, we acquire to hear his within dialogue as he worries around being referred to as a stillproud.orgward if he were to run away. The stillproud.orgmes off as really reasonable and human in a story stillproud.orgmplete of demigods.

He has actually a mind on par with Nestor however is tho a fighting hero in his prime favor Diomedes.

For this reason, i think if you’re in search of a single hero amongst the Achaeans, Odysseus is the premium choice.


Hector is the boy of King Priam of Troy and also is related to as the best amongst the Trojans.

He’s a good warrior, ~ above par with Telamonian Ajax and also Diomedes. However, he additionally remains a human, to a greater level than ns think also Odysseus seems to be.

Hector return to trojan in publication 6, and also we gain a glimpse that his family. We obtain to view just just how much the loves his family and his city.

From the events of the story, the clear that Hector isn’t some grand warrior trying to carve his name into history. He is fighting a protective war brought on through Paris, his brother.

He’s basically an ordinary guy reluctantly caught up in the function he’s been inserted in, that is just doing his ideal for the people approximately him while regulating to perform pretty well at it.

Of stillproud.orgurse, he eventually fails, is eliminated by Achilles, and Troy is doomed.

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But this no detract native his story together a male who rises to satisfy the speak to of duty and also who does all that he can. You can tell he desires to it is in a an excellent leader, husband, and father. I stillproud.orgnsider this a kind of ethical excellence.