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Comparative Analysis Essay of Heroes

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Sep 16, 2008   #1
Hello, and thanks for your time.

This is my rough draft for an essay in AP Literature and here's some information about the essay.

*Its prompt is to compare/contrast one modern hero with a hero in the past.
*The time difference between them isn't really significant at all, and they can be fictional.

The essay is supposed to be structured like so:

>An informational paragraph on each of the heroe's background, accomplishments, and why they're a hero.
>A paragraph comparing the two.
>A paragraph contrasting the two.
>A paragraph providing insight upon how the heroe's have had an impact upon society.

Fall to the Dark Side:
A Comparative Analysis of Achilles and Anakin Skywalker.

Though masked behind notable deeds and accomplishments, accompanying each
tragic hero lies fatal flaws that ultimately result in their self-imposed undoing. As for the
mythological Greek hero Achilles and young prodigy Jedi Padawan Anakin Skywalker,
both fate and vanity led to what characterized each hero's greatness as well as their
Perhaps most characteristic of Achilles as heroic was the supposed invincibility he
possessed, allowing him to become known as among the mightiest of Greek warriors. As a
child Achilles was dipped into the river Styx by his mother, leaving him invulnerable
everywhere but the heel his mother held him by. In his childhood, it was prophesied that
his power would be necessary in order to conquer Troy. Achilles was sought out by the
hero Odysseus to aid in combating Troy, soon distinguishing himself as an undefeatable
warrior. Within Troy, Achilles later captured twenty-three towns in Trojan territory,
claiming the woman Briseis as his spoils of victory. Finally, as the hero of Homer's Iliad,
Achilles allowed his close friend Patroclus to fight in his place during the Trojan war.
Tragically, Patroclus was slain by Troy's hero Hector, and in response Achilles avenged
his friend, killing Hector. Amongst his other accomplishments, Achilles continued to fight
and kill many other Trojans and their allies including Memnon and the Amazon warrior
Beginning Anakin Skywalker's rise as a hero was his discovery by the Jedi
Council as the "Chosen One" prophesied to bring balance to the force. Already previously
an engineering and piloting prodigy, Anakin was proven to show exceptional potential to
become a powerful Jedi and through training later accomplished great deeds. After
winning his freedom, as a Padawan learner, Anakin helped protect Queen Padmé from
assassins and later developed a romantic relationship with her. As another great deed,
Anakin rescued the Chancellor of the Galactic republic Palpatine, defeating the Dark Lord
of the Sith Count Dooku in the process.
Though to some degree it is their heroic deeds that relate Anakin Skywalker and
Achilles, it is most accurately their inner dark side and the similarity of the causes and
natures of their tragic downfalls which truly makes them two of a kind. Primarily, the
prideful and arrogant attitudes of the heroes combined with short tempers exemplified a
hidden darkness in each. Following the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles mercilessly
and viciously hunted down Hector and without listening to compromise both killed and
mutilated his body in public. In a similar situation, with the death of his mother Anakin
went on a blind rage, slaughtering an entire village of Tusken Raider's, leaving no mercy
for even the women and children. Secondly, both Achilles' and Anakin's past vanity come
back to ultimately cause each character's death. In revenge for the brutal muder and
mutilation of his brother Hector, Paris seeks revenge on Achilles. Upon finding Achilles,
Paris fires a bow and arrow at Achilles and with the aid of Apollo, the arrow is directed at
Achilles' one vulnerable point, resulting in his death. As for Anakin, his past choice to go
to the Dark Side in order to prevent his lover Padmé's death by child-birth comes back to
haunt him. Taking the name of Darth Vader, Anakin served the Dark Sith Lord Darth
Sidius and initially was nearly killed by his past teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi. Though he
survived, Anakin later died following a duel with his son Luke Skywalker, who opposed
the Dark Side he allowed himself to be consumed by only moments after realizing some of
the good left within him.
Despite being the greatest similarity they share, the vane nature of Anakin
Skywalker and Achilles also differentiates the two. One major factor is that though each
experienced dark moments as a result of their personalities, Anakin Skywalker at one
point was completely engulfed in darkness throughout his persona as Darth Vader and
became essentially evil for a long period, only displaying some good at the moments
before his death. Though he had his episodes that became a weakness to himself, Achilles
and his actions were generally regarded to as heroic. Another varying factor was that
whereas Achilles acted of his own accord for the most part, Anakin had restrictions on his
actions in becoming a Jedi. In choosing to not abide by these, Anakin was characterized by
his superiors as immature, rebellious, and arrogant in contrast to Achilles being
acknowledged for his strength as being heroic to his peers. Finally, Anakin experienced a
great deal of outside influence and pressure in his fall to darkness as opposed to Achilles
downfall being a result of solely his own decisions and actions. Anakin was tempted by
the Dark Sith Lord towards evil while having his emotions taken advantage of in a state of
vulnerability, leaving him only partially at fault.
Overall, Anakin Skywalker's and Achilles' display of heroic efforts conflicting
with vanity of character serves to collectively demonstrate and warn society against a
multitude of negative traits. For the two tragic heroes, the continuous cycle of such
behavior proved not only to a tragic, but fatal. In viewing the consequences of these
heroes actions however, one gains a better comprehension of the transformation one can
undergo is allowing themselves to be possessed by thoughts of power, rage, or revenge.
From the example of Anakin Skywalker's last moments, one can see that no matter how
consumed in sin one may become, there is always light left within someone to be realized.

I got a 7/9 (Based on the AP Essay grading scale) And really want to raise this essay to at the very least an 8, but preferably a 9 for my final draft. If it's not too much trouble, let me know what needs to be improved upon.

What I'm really struggling on is how they've impacted society and a concluding paragraph, so advice there would be helpful if you see that in my writing.



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