Two important characteristics for warriors are honor and virtue. Virtue is deemed to be the most important to a warrior’s life and it means achieving your greatest potential as a human being. “The reward for great honor and virtue is fame (kleos), which is what guarantees meaning and value to one’s life. Dying without fame (akleos) is generally considered a disaster, and the warriors of The Iliad do the most unimaginable deeds to avoid dying in obscurity or infamy. Other components of a warrior’s heroic code is courage, loyalty, generosity, mercy, dignity, decency, honor, stoicism and strength.
This is the heroic code of honor that the warriors are taught throughout their life. It is the code that all warriors live and die for to achieve greatness. A warrior is fierce, savage and merciless which attributes to their virtue and honor. The four codes that a warrior lives by are “always to be the best and bravest and to be distinguished above others. To stand fast and firmly while in battle. To be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds. And the final code is to help one’s friends, while harming one’s enemy. ” The stereotypical warrior would be with prestige, which he must defend.
A great warrior is goal oriented to the point of being narrow minded with the goal of becoming the best. A warrior’s greatest fear is to fail, if a warrior fails he no longer has virtue or honor. A warrior must be ready at any given notice that an enemy wants to publicly humiliate him at anytime. A warrior is responsible for the close friends and family members he may have. The harsher and most barbaric way an enemy is able to slain his foe gives the warrior more prestige within his army. The more ridicule and public humiliation that is done to your enemy shows everyone else what kind of warrior you are.
A great, fierce and most of all honored warrior. A warrior without honor does not have meaning in his life. Honor is more important than life itself. Akhilleus is considered to be the best warrior by far any other such as Hector. Akhilleus has all the characteristics of a great warrior, and proves that he is in the Achaean army, but he has character flaws that conflict with his ability to act with nobility and integrity. Akhilleus is arrogant to the point of being flawed; he is self-righteous and thinks of himself first and his immediate family second, which is a direct reflection of him.
He needs to make sure that his family is safe and that no harm comes to them. If any harm comes to his family and he did not protect them it will reflect poorly on his ability of being a great warrior. Akhilleus is selfish and cruel and very barbaric, he appears to have two different sides to himself. He is evil on the way he conducts his business as a warrior but he has another side of him that seems to yearn for him to be one of the most cherished and loved warriors at the same time. Akhilleus is one of the warriors that are a classic over-achiever.
He was taught how to excel since birth and to excel at everything he did. Doing things halfway correct or right was not an option for him. He wanted to always be first and the best in everything and would not allow anyone around him to fail or not excel either because it may reflect badly on himself as a warrior. Sometimes these character flaws disable him to the point of being unable to choose the correct action to take due to the fact that he is more concerned about his virtue than his fellow comrades in the army.
With Akhilleus having his focus on his virtue he is more than able to leave the army when his pride has been insulted. Akhilleus left his fellow comrades knowing that the army would have a more difficult time winning since he would not be present to assist them. Akhilleus cannot control his pride or the rage that overtakes him when he believes that his pride as been injured. For the most part Akhilleus appears to be slightly immature and always wanting to get his way. If anyone slights Akhilleus the least bit he is consumed with strong feelings that sometimes to not allow him to deal with the cause and effect of his actions.
Akhilleus has a thirst for glory and this will be one of the reasons for his demise later during the end of the Trojan War. A warrior’s honor and worth was measured by how much possession he took after a battle. The higher the ranking of a warrior, the more reward he recieved. Captured women were considered a high reward. When Agamemnon took Akhilleus’ woman (Breisis) from him, Akhilleus feels that Agamemnon has degraded his worth by taking away his booty and thus he feels dishonored. Akhilleus rejects the embassy sent to bring him back into the conflict because his pride has been injured.
He believes that he is in the right so it doesn’t matter how much they offer to bring him back to fight with his army, his pride is at stake and above all else he must contain his pride and show everyone that his pride is not for sale. Which went the embassy came to ask him to return it was a double insult believing that his pride could be bought. When Akhilleus returns to the army to fight; he goes in there knowing that he will not come out alive and that he will die at a very young age. Most consider this to be a most admirable trait and they admire him even more for doing so knowing this.
Akhilleus decides to he rather live a short life with great honor and virtue than a long life with disgrace of no longer being a great warrior. When he returned to the fighting he knew that he needed to do battle like he had never done before since all he had left was his honor and virtue, therefore once the fighting started again he would go out and do everything over the top. He would make sure that everyone would remember in his death that he was the greatest warrior that ever lived. “Therefore Akhilleus best embodies the heroic code.
He is a greater fighter than everyone else and, despite his selfishness, emerges as the most admirable hero, at least to the Greek mind. ” Is the heroic code a barbaric way of life or is it survival? To many this question cannot be answered in a simple response. Akhilleus was from birth raised to be a warrior and to be more than just a good warrior but a warrior that strived for the very best in everything. With this kind of upbringing is there any other way for him to think of what is important in life?
If you are conditioned from birth that this is the most important attribute you can contribute to life than would it be consider barbaric? Akhilleus was raised to be the best warrior and therefore what started out as the willingness to achieve greatness, evolved into a barbaric way of life, which then turned into survival. Survival of the fittest was to live by the code to be the best and to kill or be killed and to be known as the greatest warrior of all. Akhilleus has willingness to destroy anything or anyone that stood in his way of achieving his goal in life.