A Comparison between Achilles and Abraham

General Information

Achilles is widely believed to be one of the greatest heroes of the Trojan War and also the most handsome, the quickest and one of the strongest warriors during the war. According to Encyclopedia Mythica, one of his greatest achievements was when he defeated Hector, who was one of the greatest warriors among the Trojans. He was also well known for his participation numerous conquests of other countries under King Agamemnon. However, while Achilles skills in battle were unmatched, he did not consider Agamemnon to be his king as the latter refused to recognize his contributions in the many wars that have been won by the Greeks.

Based on Greek mythology, Achilles’ mother, Thetis, tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx, the river of the dead, when he was born. However, Thetis failed to immerse the heel of Achilles which she held as she dipped him, leaving this part vulnerable. On the other hand, the rest of Achilles body that was dipped in the river Styx was believed to be indestructible and impenetrable.

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However, Achilles’ weakness was exploited during the Trojan War when Paris hit his heel with an arrow, which ultimately resulted in his death. This gave birth to the term “Achilles Heel,” which is used when referring to a person’s weakness or weak point. On the other hand, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Abraham is considered to be father of all nations, according to Genesis 17:5. He is the recognized as the father of Israel and an important figure in Jewish Christian, and Muslim religions.

In the bible, God promised him that all the world’s nations would be blessed through the many offspring that He would give Abraham. However, before God fulfills his promise, Abraham must first recognize God as his one and only guardian and lord. Abraham did exactly what God wanted him to do and it is believed that his production of many offspring was the instrument of God in establishing the earth’s different nations.

Based on the Bible, one of the most well-known covenants made by God and Abraham is the covenant of circumcision. According to the covenant, if Abraham and his descendants fulfilled their part an agreed to be circumcised, God would reward them with a rich land of their own.

Differences and Similarities

The most noticeable similarity between the two is the inspiration that they gave to their respective people. Acilles led the Greeks to numerous victories and was believed to be the source of the strength of the army. Also based on historical accounts, even though Agamemnon was a fierce and ruthless king, he feared Achilles and was not fully comfortable when he fought wars without him.

Similarly, Abraham inspired people, in particular, his offspring, to follow his example of obedience to God. He led to the establishment of many nations and several religions. In addition, both Achilles and Abraham had several women, although the latter served a purpose for God, which is to bring glory to the nations through his offspring.

However, unlike Achilles, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Abraham was not a true warrior, save for the fact that he was involved in the war with the King of Elam. In addition, Abraham was obedient to his ruler, who was God, while Achilles was not.  There main point of difference was basically their allegiance to their respective kings or rulers.

Abraham feared God and obeyed whatever He commanded him to do. The best example of his obedience was when God ordered him to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Abraham, although puzzled by God’s commandment, obeyed. As a result of his obedience, God prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and showered him with blessings.

On the other hand, Achilles scorned his king, Agamemnon, who treated him with much disrespect and dishonor. He fought only for glory and not for his king. In fact, Achilles’ only allegiance was to his men, the Myrmidons. Furthermore, Achilles disrespected the sun God, Apollo, whom he considered his enemy being an ally of the Trojans.

Another point of the difference was their styles in leadership. Achilles was not truly a leader but more of a motivating figure to the Greek armies. On the other hand, God designated Abraham as the father and leader of nations. Furthermore, the respective rulers of Abraham and Achilles used their talents and strengths for different purposes. Agamemnon merely used Achilles as his tool for conquest and destruction and did not really care about his welfare. On the other hand, Abraham was a man favored by God, who rewarded him immensely for his acts of obedience. God also treated him fairly and gave him opportunities to test his faith.

Moreover, the time and manner of their deaths were different. Achilles death signified that even the greatest warrior has his weak point and would eventually fall. He died at an early age. On the other hand, Abraham died naturally, on the time God set for him, after living for 170 years. Over-all, Achilles’ life was guided by glory and his thirst for war. It was evident that he wanted future generations to remember and tell stories about his greatness and valor in battle. In short, he wanted to be immortalized.

On the other hand, Abraham initially did not want to be famous and establish himself as one of the great names of history unlike Achilles did. However, God glorified him because of his obedience.

Works Cited

  1. Encyclopedia Mythica. (2005). Achilles. Retrieved October 30, 2007 from http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/achilles.html
  2. Catholic Encyclopedia. (2007). Abraham. Retrieved October 30, 2007 from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01051a.htm

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