Cu Chulainn: Irish Heroic Warrior Essay
Cuchulainn, a heroic warrior, is referred to as both the Hercules and Achilles of Ireland. Fedelm, the prophetess, describes him as “full of fame. ” Like Hercules, Cuchulainn had superhuman strength. He had a “warrior’s fist, the arm of a prodigy. ” He was also able to outdo all Ulster warriors with his “brilliance and nimbleness in feats. ” His great strength and valor reflect the characteristics of Hercules. Because of his bravery and invincibility, Cuchulainn also resembles the great Greek hero Achilles.
Like Achilles, Cuchulainn is known as an undefeatable warrior, with the potential to easily slaughter his opponents in war. Because of these heroic attributes, Cuchulainn can be easily compared to the valiant ancient warriors, Achilles and Hercules. Similar to Hercules, who had to perform the twelve heroic labors, Cuchulainn had to perform near impossible tasks in order to win over Emer. Emer told him in order to win her heart he must perform outrageous tasks, such as “strike down three groups of nine men with a single stroke, leaving the middle man of each nine unharmed. While these labors seemed impossible, Cuchulainn accepted them with confidence. After hard work and dedication to his training, Cuchulainn returned to Emer, performing all of the labors she asked of him. Emer praised him, saying, “That was a great deed, to kill one hundred armed angry men. ” By facing these feats head on, Cuchulainn proved his perseverance to succeed. Cuchulainn’s hard work and dedication are parallel to that of Hercules. Cuchulainn is also similar to Achilles because they are both known as such brave and invincible warriors.
Cuchulainn was the only man in Ulster unaffected by the pangs, which gave him an advantage during the Tain. He could easily kill one hundred men. Fergus said, “you’ll find no harder warrior against you, no point more sharp…no fighter as fierce, no one of his age one third as good. ” His skill and bravery was known throughout Ireland; he was one of the most remarkable warriors known to man. Also, like Achilles, Cuchulainn was willing to accept an early death. At the end of the battle, he was wounded and unable to fight.
He repeatedly said how he wished he could be fighting; “you would see me attacking there with the rest of them if I had my health. ” But, in the end, his wounds were not obstacles to him and he fought in the battle. He ran into battle while “his wounds were opened afresh,” still able to fight as violently as ever, as he “smashed heads together, so that each was stained grey from the other’s brains. ” With his wounds, Cuchulainn embraced the pain in order to fight, proving to be as fearless and indomitable a warrior as Achilles.
However, unlike Achilles, it seems as though Cuchulainn had virtually no weak spots. Fergus claimed, “you will find no one there to measure against him. ” Effortlessly slaying his enemies at a mere age of five, Cuchulainn seemed invincible. When he was only five years old, he managed to single-handedly fight off over one hundred boys; “they flung three times fifty javelins at him, and he stopped them all on his shield of sticks. Then they drove all their hurling-balls at him, and he stopped every ball at his breast. ” Cuchulainn defended himself with ease.
He effortlessly fought off all the boys, equipped with only a toy shield made of sticks. Additionally, until the end when he decided to let Mebd live, Cuchulainn was a heartless killer, unlike the other heroes. At the end of the battle, Cuchlainn spared Mebd, “not being a killer of women. ” However, Cuchulainn was typically a merciless murderer, never considering sparing lives before he smashed their heads together. He terrorized his opponents in war, threatening to “churn [them] up like a foam churned in a pool. ” Cuchulainn’s first reaction was to kill.
When he was woken up by some man, Cuchulainn “struck him on the forehead with his fist and drove the dome of his forehead back into the brain. ” Cuchulainn possessed astonishing strength, which he never attempted to restrain. Cuchulainn proved to be a greater warrior than Hercules and Achilles because of his incredible strength and his absolute invulnerability. Cuchulainn is very similar to these heroes, but he deserves to be ranked higher than them because of his incredible strength. He was able to fight off Mebd’s troops single-handedly, while being one of the youngest warriors.
His tremendous strength overpowers the other heroes. Although he resembles Hercules because of his great strength and dedication, and Achilles because of his bravery and invincibility as a warrior, Cuchulainn also possesses talents greater than his fellow heroes. Cuchulainn began his career as a warrior at the young age of five, facing opponents five times his age. He was also completely invulnerable, giving him a huge advantage in war.