Literary Essay Sample: Hero as Savior

Published: 2022-06-01
Literary Essay Sample: Hero as Savior
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1323 words
12 min read

A hero is someone who partakes in hectic tasks which are extraordinary to protect people from harm and to save their life. A savior, on the other hand, saves people from the risks that would kill them(Campbell,2008). A hero can be the savior who would bring salvation to people like in Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 487. "Oedipus brought salvation to the whole community of Athens when he achieved the rank of a cult hero." Oedipus is referred to as a shooter or 'savior' because he saved the people of Thebes from Monstrous Sphinx.

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In the case of Achilles as the saved hero and as a savior hero, there is a visible sign that shows how the god Dionysius is involved in this particular hero's immortalization. That sign is a golden amphora given by the god to Thetis, the mother of Achilles, which contains the bones of the hero and which will save him by bringing him back to life after death(Nagy,2013). It is this salvation which I will argue, that empowers Achilles, in turn, to become the savior of his people. "in unmixed wine and oil. Your mother gave a golden amphora to hold them - she had received it as a gift from Dionysus, she said, and it was the work of the famed Hephaistos himself; in this [amphora] were placed your white bones, O luminous Achilles, mixed with the bones of Patroklos who had died before you, and separately from the bones of Antilokhos, whom you honoured most of all."

To make my argument, I start by reviewing the story about the golden amphora given by the god Dionysus. The golden amphora contained the bones of Achilles and patrokolos that were kept in the golden vessel and generated into a living body again by the prowess of the god of Dionysius(Pache,2009). A tomb got built over the bones, and it became a tumulus which the army of that time and those born afterward heaped up there. "Over these bones a huge and faultless tumbos was built; it was a tumulus that the sacred army of spear-fighting Argives heaped up, at a headland jutting out over the open Hellespont, so that it might be visible, shining forth from afar, for men at sea now living and for those that will be born hereafter."

Achilles played the big role of savior of sailors because the location of tumulus that once contained the golden amphora had his bones together with Patroklos bones(Burkert,2012). The tumulus containing Patroklos and Achilles bones gets seen as the lighthouse that flashed the light to the sailors whose life's were in danger because of the stretching waters of the sea. "Over these bones a huge and faultless tumbos was built; it was a tumulus that we the sacred army of spear-fighting Argives heaped up, at a headland jutting out over the open Hellespont, so that it might be visible, shining forth from afar, for men at sea Pontos now living and for those that will be born hereafter."

The Hellespont is seen to have a beautiful meaning of where the tomb of a hero, Achilles is located. It is also a source of salvation of sailors in the face of dangerous water of the sea. "The tomb is mystically inhabited by the restless spirit of that alienated hero."

In the Three more glimpse of heroic salvation, the first two of the three images is Achilles who is seen giving salvation(Hook,2017). In the third image, there is Odysseus who receives salvation from the white goddess. "What all the three images have in common is the generalized idea of Greeks as seafaring people."

The first image appears before Achilles receives the armor that he would wear for the renewed war at the moment known as Iliad. Iris, the divine messenger, asks him to signal the Archaean comrades that he would be with them soon(Perry,2007). Once Achilles stood up, he experienced fire springing from his head. "As for Achilles, dear to Zeus, he stood up, and Athena flung over his mighty shoulder. And around his head, a cloud was garlanded by this goddess of goddesses whose radiance comes from the sky. The cloud was golden, and from it, she ignited a blazing burst of fire."

The second image of the three glimpse of heroic salvation was from the song of pidar of 446 BCE which celebrated the glory of the people of Aegina. The song reviewed the wish of salvation of these Islanders who are seen singing and dancing their hope in the form of prayers(Gagarin,2007). "Creatures of a day. What is a someone, what is a no one? A dream of shade is a man. But when the radiance that is given by Zeus comes, then there is a light shining over men, and the recycling of time is sweet to the taste. Aegina! Mother near and dear! Make a mission of freedom for this polis as you bring it back to safety, back to Zeus! May it happen with the help of Aiakos, the Ruler. And of Peleus. And of noble Telamon. And especially of Achilles."The third image of the three glimpse of heroic salvation has a hero known as Odysseus who was saved by the white goddess known as Ino before and after his immortalization(Compton,2006). The White goddess sees Odysseus when he is about to drown, and he helps him. "Odysseus was seen by the daughter of Cadmus. She is Ino, with the beautiful ankles, and she is also called the White Goddess, but she had been a mortal before that, endowed with a special voice. But now, in the depths, she had a share in the honor that belongs to gods. She took pity on Odysseus, lost at sea and suffering pains. Appearing like a winged diving bird, she emerged from the waters and perched on the raft, addressing him with this set of words."

The metaphor of salvation that pervades Plato's Phaedo has a connection with the sea. The idea of theoria as a religious journey of the ship of the country gets synchronized with the concept of theoria as a philosophical contemplation, which continues the living word of the dialogue that gets dramatized in the Phaedo(Gnuse,2010). People wish that the dialogue would be saved even after the death of Socrates just like the myth of Er is saved at the end of Plato's Republic. "But the wish seems to be in doubt as the death of Socrates draw nearer, the followers weep uncontrollably."

At the end of Phaedo, the Socrates says, "sacrifice a rooster to Asklepios. As we saw in the 20th hour, this hero was the son of Apollo, and he had special powers of healing. Asklepios also had the power of bringing the dead back to life."

In conclusion, the word of the hero among the Greeks is a living word as long as the idea of the hero is alive(Nagy,2013). "And if the word is alive, the hero will live on."


Campbell, J. (2008). The hero with a thousand faces (Vol. 17). New World Library.Nagy, G. (2013). The ancient Greek hero in 24 hours. Harvard University Press.

Pache, C. O. (2009). The Hero Beyond Himself: Heroic Death in Ancient Greek Poetry and art

Burkert, W. (2012). Structure and history in Greek mythology and ritual (No. 47). University of California Press.

Gnuse, R. (2010). From Prison to Prestige: The Hero Who Helps a King in Jewish and Greek Literature. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 72(1), 31-45.

Compton, T. (2006). Victim of the muses: poet as scapegoat, warrior, and hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European myth and history (Vol. 11). Harvard University.

Ascough, R. S., Harland, P. A., & Kloppenborg, J. S. (2012). Associations in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.

Perry, C. (2007). What is a Hero?

Gagarin, M., Fantham, E., & Corpus-Mosaics, H. (2007). Ancient Greece and Rome. Psychology, 52, 3-32.

Hook, S. (2017). The hero in history: A study in limitation and possibility. Transaction Publishers.

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