Most myths are continuously being retold for the younger generation, simply for the cultural value and creativity that comes from these types of stories. Although, the myths can be used as “just stories,” some people look deeper into it and recognize the lessons that could potentially correlate in today’s society. This may be why most people have an understanding or connection when reading myths because they may have had similar experiences or can relate to a certain situation. In particular, the stories of Herakles and Achilles are strongly relatable in modern time, in which they portray the lessons of self-control and strength & weaknesses.
Almost everyone heard of or grew up watching Herakles as a child. We saw that he was a very strong warrior due to his bravery and power that he possessed. We also saw how active he was by learning how to archer, play music, wrestle, and chariot racing. But in classical myth, Herakles was known to be a drunken dumb brute and was manipulated by Hera, causing him to very violent and go wild at times. To get back at Zeus for cheating, Hera does everything in her power to make Herakles’s life a living hell. Herakles was driven by intense rage which he had a hard time controlling. The advantages and disadvantages were that he was able to use his anger upon battle, but on the other hand, Hera had a way of using that against him. Due to Hera’s tactics, Herakles went rampant and killed his wife and children. He was exiled and spent twelve years in penance.
One lesson to take from the classical myth is the restraint of one’s emotion. You cannot let another person dictate your own action(s). If you let people get the best of you, you might do something you will regret and might spend much of your life repaying for your sin. I’m sure there has been a moment in your life where you have been so frustrated or angry at someone or something. From the myth, it tells us that we should contain are negative feelings and make for a positive decision than doing something irrational. We can’t let our emotions get the best of us and learn how to handle certain situations. You must come true to yourself and not let any outer force affect you in any way, shape, or form.
The story of Achilles is very interesting when identifying the reasoning behind certain situations. Achilles’ mother Thetis, dipped Achilles into the River Styx, making him invincible. As he got older, he had become one of the best warriors in the Trojan war. It seemed as if nothing could have stopped him. But that was not the case. Looking back in the past, Thetis held on to Achilles’s ankles when dipped into the river and never covered in the river. This makes his ankles a weakness compared to the rest of the body that is invulnerable. During the Trojan war, ironically, Achilles was shot in the “Achilles’ heel” by an arrow and ended up killing him.
The lesson that this myth proves to show that everyone has their strength and weaknesses. No matter what the case may be, there is always going to be a positive and/or negative. Going back to Achilles, he was one of the best and strongest fighters in the Trojan War, killing whoever stood in his way. But, an arrow to the ankle proves to show that no matter how well put together you may be, there is something else that can make the difference. We all have weakness whether you think you do or not, we do. For example, someone could be the best basketball player in his or her high school and had interests in some of the best colleges out there. But the only thing that kept him/her from getting a full ride scholarship, was his/her grades. He/she can do wonders with the basketball in their hands but can’t do much of anything when given a book or pen and pencil. It is what we do personally, that can either help or hinder us in the long or short term. It brings the attention that we need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and decide what we want to do to improve our self as an individual.
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