Archilles and Dante are epic heroes in the stories HOMER, The Iliad and Dante, The Divine Comedy, Inferno respectively. Archilles is a war hero and enjoys great prowess in the art of war. Through Archilles, the archaeans are able to conquer to Trojan in battle. On the other hand, Dante is a prolific writer whose main message in Inferno is the need for morality in the Christian faith. As epic heroes both characters exemplify extraordinary skills and successes in their various fields (Martin 29). Despite this phenomenon both Achilles and Dantes are heroes based on how they handle and overcome the different challenges that come their way. This paper compares and contrasts Achilles and Dante as epic heroes.
First of all both Achilles and Dante are characters who have great determination to realize the goals that they have set. In the case of Achilles, he has mastered his art of war and has used it to defend and protect his society. In the other hand, Dante is a seeker of truth. He is concerned about the occurrences of hell and would not like members of his society to suffer the atrocities of hell as a result of their lack of proper adherence to the doctrines of the Christian religion. It is as a result of the determination of these two characters that they both find themselves in difficult positions in life. For example, Achilles is exposed to the dangers of war for choosing to be a warrior who has sacrifices his life to serve society. As a result of the war, Archilles loses many friends and countrymen but he remains undeterred to continue fighting for the Achaelean army. On the other hand, Dante’s a seeker of truth finds himself in a thick dark forest with many challenges and risks. He interacts with ghosts such as the ghost of Vigil and the happenings of hell so that he can be able to determine the kind of punishment that is subjected to individuals for a given magnitude of sin (Durling &Martinez 44).
Second both Achilles and Dante’s face betrayal in the course of their lives. For example, after the Achaean army defeats the Trojan army there are able to successfully capture two beautiful Trojan maidens named Chryseis and Briseis. The leader of the Archaenean army named Agamemnon gets Chryseis. Achilles, as one of the most successful Archaean warriors is rewarded with the beautiful maiden named Briseis. However, after the two men had taken the captured girls, the father of Chryseis sends a plague on the Archaeans (Fagles & Knox 56). The plague claims very many lives. Agamemnon learns that unless he gives back the beautiful maiden that he had captured, his people would continue to die. However Agamemnon as a leader did not have the respect for Achilles. After he had given back his maiden Chryseis, he goes and takes Achilles’s maiden Briseis. Considering that Achilles had contributed remarkably to the success of the Archaeleans in the war, taking away his maiden was not the best way for Agamemnon to reward Achilles. For this action, Archilles refuses to engage in the war. This becomes a huge blow for the Archaelean army that loses terribly to the Trojan army.
On the other hand, Dante struggled to convince people about the need for them to live upright and moral lives in order to make sure that they avoided the atrocities of hell. However, many people were not ready to follow his philosophies. This is apparent during his journey in hell. During his visit of hell, Dante is able to spot various individuals that were his enemies when they were alive. These people included rogue politicians, people who engaged in actions of bribery, individuals who betrayed their leaders and nations among others. This means that despite the efforts put by Dante to make sure that people did not commit sins, people sinned anyway. It is interesting that Dante also came across some of his friends who were writers and who had died without acknowledging Christ. For failure to acknowledge nature these individuals were facing all kinds of atrocities in hell.
In the case of Dante, the people who sinned against God and committed atrocities against men were punished in hell according to the magnitude of their actions. On the contrary, justice in the case of Achilles was only achievable through death. For example, after Achilles lent his armor to his friend Patroclus to engage in the fight against the Trojans, Patroclus ends up being killed in the war. Archilles learns that one of the leaders of the Trojans named Hector was responsible for the actions. For the sake of his friend, Archilles goes back to war and defeats the Trojans in a great way due to the agony that he had regarding the death of his friend Patroclus. As a way of gaining closure, Archilles killed hector and carries his body to the Archaelean army camp where the body is dragged for days before the Trojans pleas with Archilles to let them give Hector a descent value. Therefore, both Dante and Archilles had different understanding on the concept of justice and punishment.
In conclusion, both Dante and Archilles are epic heroes. They were both committed in realizing success in their areas of profession. Both overcame huge obstacles and were subjected to betrayal in their lifetimes. However, both characters had different perception about the idea of justice. Dante was of the view that God punished evil doers through hell where sins were punished differently according to their magnitudes. On the contrary, Archilles believed that atrocities on the Archaelean people were best solvable through war and the killing of the perpetrators.
Durling, Robert M., and Ronald L. Martinez. The divine comedy of Dante Alighieri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
Fagles, Robert, and Bernard Knox. The Iliad. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1990. Print.
Puchner, Martin. The Norton anthology of world literature. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2012. Print.