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Andr-Louis Rochet Axr5380

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CAMS045U : Greek Mythology






A comparison between Herakles madness
and Achilles anger.


By Andr-Louis Rochet











Andr-Louis Rochet Axr5380
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Through these two epic narratives Ill show and explain the differences between these
two characters, proving that Heroes do not have the same behavior, some of them are more
God alike and other more human alike. Our study will be focus on Herakles furens by
Euripides and The Iliad by Homer.

In Euripides: Herakles furens we begin the story by having a detailed explication on
how epic, brave and courageous Herakles is, Amphitryon depicts in his monologue numerous
characteristics of Hercules that can be ironically related to the post-furens, just as if Euripides
was leaving hints all over the narrative: offers an ample recompense to Eurystheus
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, tasks
he has laboriously accomplished
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, noble son
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; and emphasize on the qualities of his
family: a careful guardian of his children
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, with his mother lest of the children of Hercules
may die
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In this monologue we have then a perfect description of the good Hero, he is
loyal to his family to his father and king and most of all he is a great warrior that is not even
afraid to go to the underworld to go get the mythical Cerberus.
At this point we can already see a difference of behavior with Achilles, In the first book of the
Iliad because Achilles was so mad at Agamemnon to stole his girlfriend
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that he decide to stay
under his tent and ask Zeus to make the Trojan win over the Greeks, this selfish feeling that
not even the critical situation or an embassy composed of the most respected Greeks will
make his mind change, brought by his negative attitude will be the cause of the Death of his
beloved Patroklos. Indeed Patroklos is sensitive to the faith of the Greeks, and because of it he
will wear the armor of Achilles and go fight for him (Achilles gave him is permission to just

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Page 4 Euripides Herkules furens, Kellys keys to the classics/ Litterally Translated by T.J. ARNOLD
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Iliad (I, 130-139).
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push the attackers away from the camp but not to do too much), Patroklos disobeys, chases
the Trojans that were fleeing up to the wall of Troy, he is then hit in the back by Apollo and
killed by Hector. His death was indirectly the fault of Achilles Jealousy and as a result of his
fury and madness.
While Achilles madness can be seen as a result of his own actions, Herakles is
completely innocent. His entire family was threaten by Likus that was illegally governing
Thebes I ask if I may, the father and wife of Hercules [] to what time do you desire to
prolong life?
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Or What hope or help do have you, that you shall not die?
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, he even argues
that Herakles is dead the father of these children, laid low in Hades, will return?. Herakles
family is taken by surprise and is ready to die; Megara and Amphitryon dont even want to
fight (showing how they relayed on Herakles protection). Lykus is being very rude towards
Herakles
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, mocking the fact that he used a bow instead of a spear (he implies that he is a
coward) and questioning his authority It is not the dead that rule this land, but I at present.
Likus then ask that Herakles family should be tied around the altar [and that the fire] burn
and consume the bodies of all these
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. We therefore have here the perfect nemesis for
Herakles, he has a reason to kill him (it is justified). Therefore the madness can only come
from a third source (God, other enemy)
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.
We have on one hand Achilles that refuses to fight (since the first day
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) with his
brothers in arms because of a girl that is not even his wife (just his slave-girlfriend), betray
his side by asking Zeus to help the Trojan win, did not took note about the advice of some of
his closest relatives (Ajax, Phoenix) or notorious figures (Odysseus), the death of many

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There is a notorious gap between the moment when Herakles saves his family and the time Hera makes him
go crazy, but well see it later on
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Book 1
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Greeks, the sack of part of the Greek camp, almost the destruction of the fleet and worst of all
would have an indirect implication on the death of Patroklos, without proving much . On the
other hand we have Herakles who is struggling in the underworld to get his mission done,
leaving his family without protection and attacked by Lykus, he is also treated of coward,
dead, and Lykus mocks his exploits
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.
We can now focus on both characters madnesss.
When Achilles actions led to the death of Patroklos he then turns into a complete rage
and is more than willing to go back on the field of battle and kills many Trojans, showing no
mercy, no feelings for those who he massacre without piety. He then fights a minor river god
Scamander and almost perishes (hes saved in-extremis by Hera), and even fights Apollo. He
finishes killing Hector in a dual. And shows a very disrespectful behavior unworthy of a hero:
instead of respecting his body he attaches it to his trolley and carries him around the Walls of
Troy, and then he drags the body back to the camp without giving him a proper burial.
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Herakles, miraculously makes it back on time and kills Lykus O all you land of
Kadmus, I perish by treachery
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. The Chorus (who narrates the story)
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makes the praise of
Herakles You are to me a mightier king than a degenerate monarch
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, when they are
interrupted by the god Iris (sent by Hera): Ah are we fallen into the same panic of terror, for
such a phantom as I see above the house?
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Iris then announces that she is the executor And
me Iris, the servant of the gods
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, we then do immediately understand that everything was
planned by a superior god (here Hera) that no mortal or Hero would be able to fight. The
Chorus then indicates us that Herakles is driven into madness Your flower the son of Jove, is

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Song XXII : fight between Achilles and Herctor
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cut down
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, You shall lose him driven by the discordant ravings of madness
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and
depicts the murdering of his children As a hunter he pursues his children
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and Megara too
because she was standing there
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, we then understand that Herakles tried to murder his own
father thinking that he was Eurystheus and that his childs were Eurystheus sons This is one
of the brood of Eurysteus has fallen in death. As he was going to kill his father too Athena
strucked him hurled a rock against the breast of Herakles and Herakles fall asleep. First
Herakles does not remember Strange, how suspicious are those repeated insinuations
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but
when Herakles realized what he just did, dishonored he tries to kill himself Why, then, do I
spare my life, being the murderer of my dearest children.
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Theseus (that Herakles freed
from Hades) arrives and tries to reason him by appealing to their friendship show your face
to your friends
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. Because he could not stay in Thebes, Herakles leaves for Athens with
Theseus.
Overall, Herakles madness consequences are way worst than Achilles anger.
Herakles killed member of his own family (children and wife) that could not defend
themselves while Achilles killed warriors, soldiers that knew that death was a possibility.
Both are Heroes and they are supposed to behave responsibly, but we notice that while
Herakles as depicted by Amphitryon is the perfect model of courage, bravura, hes married
and is the father of a family. Achilles behavior is way more childish; he has a very bad
temper, doesnt like to have his authority questioned, disobey to his superiors, does not listen
to his friends and is ready to betray his own kind. There are very few positive things about
this, and it is not a good behavior alike.

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Achilles madness is caused by the fact that he sent Patroklos to go fighting with his
armor. And since Patroklos is very young he disobeyed Achilles and was killed by Hector, by
not taking care of his protected Patroklos, Achilles causes his own anger. It is in own behavior
that is in question when he decides to commit sacrilege by not offering a normal burial to
Hector. Herakles path is straight, the only thing that deviates him from this perfect style of
living is the intervention of Hera, that droves him into madness. But even if his acts are
horrible, can they really be charged against him? Since he was in a trance
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without knowing
what he was doing
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.
In the Iliad Achilles life is not drastically altered by his behavior, he mourned his
friend and organized him beautiful funeral games where many athletes could compete, he
even allowed Hectors body to be retrieved by Priam (his father). Herakles situation is
different, after listening to his good friend Theseus he decides to not commit suicide and to
follow him to Thebes, which will then lead to the twelve labors of Herakles
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for his
redemption. But Herakles lost everything: his family, friends (but Theseus) own city and
honor without deserving it.
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One last difference that we can point out is that Herakles is the offspring of Zeus
(major reason for which Hera is mad at Herakles) and Achilles is just the son of Thetis a
Nymph. Even if they are both Heroes, Herakles is more of a first division Hero than
Achilles.
We can therefore say that there are two types of Heroes; some have a more human
temper and behavior like Achilles, and other such a noble behavior that they could be elevated
almost as high as the Gods.

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I take good note that this is theater and that only the audience is supposed to know, if not it would not be
funny.
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even thought if we can blame him the fact that he was ready to kill his enemies sons
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13 if we count the 50 daughters of Thespius he had to have sex with
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I can say that it is unfair