Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid are two great classical epics of Greek and Roman mythology. Both poetries convey heroism, pride, love, fate and duty. However, Homer focuses on his hero Achilles at the end of the Trojan War and Virgil focuses on his hero Aeneas after the Trojan War; eventually becomes the founder of a new Roman civilization. Besides the fact that they fight on the opposite sides of the Trojan War, the major difference between these two heroes is their ideas of who they are. Achilles stands as a symbol of self-serving person, while Aeneas is a symbol of self-sacrificing.
Homer portrays Achilles as a selfish and revengeful warrior. Achilles decides not to fight for Greek when king Agamemnon takes his battle prize Briseis away. However, Achilles allows Patroclus to wear his armor. He also instructs Patroclus to drive Trojans back from Achaeans’ ship but not to take over the city as it is only Achilles to win. His selfishness and self pride ...view middle of the document...
But Achilles continues to spoil his body until King Priam comes with ransom and begs for Hector’s dead body. This behavior shows his merciless character. At the end of the Iliad, Greek wins the Trojan War, but Achilles dies. To die in a battle will raise one’s fame. Achilles’ character shows the typical Greek hero, who would die gloriously at a young age rather than no fame. He is more of a fierce warrior and a ruthless enemy. His merciless character leaves him with no respect for the other warriors he fights with.
Aeneas, on the other hand, is more civilized than Achilles. His is dutiful and wise. He is not selfish as Achilles; he concerns about the goodwill of all Trojans. When Troy loses the Trojan War, he turns his thoughts to his family and his people. He goes back to find his wife. Eventually, he returns to the hill without his wife, where more Trojan refugees are waiting for his lead to find a new home. He chooses his people over his wife. He thinks for the greater cause, not for his personal feelings. Not only that, he is a lot more pious than Achilles. When Mercury tells him that he has to leave Carthage and found the Roman race, he leaves Dido without hesitation. He puts his duty first before his own feelings. While traveling through the Underworld to locate his father, Anchises, he shows Aeneas that he is destined to become the founder of the new Roman Empire. Aeneas returns to the land to fulfill his destiny and sails for Laurentum, where he will build his great city Rome. Thus, he becomes the true leader for Roman race.
Achilles and Aeneas are both extremely good warriors throughout Iliad and Aeneid; however while Achilles is vicious, Aeneas isn’t. Where Achilles wants destruction, Aeneas yearns for peace. Even though, Achilles and Aeneas are both heroes to their own nation, they are extremely different. Achilles is a great warrior for the Greeks; meanwhile Aeneas is not only a great warrior but also a leader of Roman. Although they both live around the same time period, their different cultures influence them in different diversity. Achilles’ arrogance and selfishness let him die in Trojan War. On the other hand, Aeneas’ intelligence and piousness let him survive the Trojan War and made him the founder of Rome.