Aeneas and Achilles are two brave heroes whose names are recognized as role models for generations. The character of Achilles is portrayed by Homer in Iliad however we see Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid. There are some similarities as well as differences in both the heroes. Since these two heroes represent two different civilizations, they are often compared to each other. This paper intends to discuss the characters of Aeneid and Achilles and further talks about similarities and differences of their character.
Achilles is son of goddess Thetis and this divine ancestry makes him outstanding. He has some godlike powers and known as symbol of strength. Achilles can influence the decision of god through her mother and he is seen doing this at some occasions. Like Achilles, Aeneas also has a divine lineage as he is the son of Venus. Aeneas also gets the privileges of being the son of Venus and receives some extraordinary gifts from the gods. Like Achilles, Aeneas was also given a set of arms that was crafted by the god of arms. Mother and father of both the legendary heroes kept arguing and requesting to favor their boys.
Another similarity that a reader comes to realize after reading about both the heroes is that life of both the heroes was predetermined. Achilles was aware of his destiny and he was reminded about it by his mother. She said that you have a short life as decided by your destiny. When Achilles came to know about the death of Patroclus, he realized that his death is also very close to him. Like Achilles, Aeneas also had a predetermined life as he had to found one of the greatest cities of the contemporary world. He was given a massage about the same in his dreams and also had heard a voice of god.
Like similarities, there were some differences in the characters of both heroes. One major difference that we see is the difference in the idea of victory. Achilles’ idea of war and victory was to take the lives of people in a merciless manner. He had no respect for the men who were found fighting against him. He killed them mercilessly and showed no respect for anybody whom he killed. After killing hector, he tied his body to his chariot and dragged his body irrespective of the request of respectful burial, which was made to him by hector. On the other hand, Aeneas had different philosophy of the war. He stood by the roman philosophy that one should spare the life of others. He never displayed the merciless behavior in any of his wars.
Achilles seems to be a self centered man who fights for nothing but for his own interest and pride. When Briseis was taken from his camp, he prays his goddess mother for the deaths of his own army men just because he thinks that he was mistreated by Agamemnon. When Odysseus approached and requested him to rescue the Greek army, he out rightly refused his request.
On the other hand, Aeneas has been portrayed as a man who had the ability to deal with any situation. He was neither selfish like Achilles nor he fights for his personal satisfaction. Aeneas fights for his own people and state. He rarely asked for any help from gods like Achilles used to do. He received help and favors from gods but did not use these favors for his personal interest. Aeneas followed the right path and moved as per the wills of gods whether it caused him to suffer a lot but he never chose a path which was prescribed as wrong by gods.
Achilles is one of the most prominent characters portrayed by homer in Iliad while Aeneas is not hat prominently portrayed in Vergil’s Aeneid. The characteristics of both the heroes help readers in deciding who the real hero was. Achilles was an exceptionally skillful warrior who was blessed with godlike powers but at the same time he was selfish, revengeful and showed no mercy to anybody who was not in agreement with him. On the other side Aeneas was a great warrior with set of other qualities that makes him the real hero in the eyes of readers.
After having observed the abovementioned analysis of the duo heroes, Achilles and Aeneas, it is good to say that there is no doubt that both the heroes were blessed with power and set of other qualities. It is good to say though that Achilles was just a warrior who had some rare and godlike skills to win the war but Aeneas seems to be a real hero as he was full of other qualities. He was not selfish and never showed mercilessness like Achilles. He always fought for the glory of his community and the nation and not like the Achilles who always fought and killed people mercilessly for his own interests and to satisfy his pride. Achilles was revengeful and had no mercy for his enemies while Aeneas believed in sparing others.
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