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Alexander the Great, son of King Philip II and one of the mightiest emperors during the Classical Era, is deemed to be one of the most controversial figures in the history of the eastern world. Tutored by his father and the Greek philosopher Aristotle, at a very young age, Alexander the Great received an exceptional education and childhood which lead to him becoming a king, politician, commander, and explorer. From the view of a person in the 4th century B.C.E., Alexander the Great is a significant politician that was able to conquer much of the known world and bring prosperity to the eastern world; however, from a modern view, taking into consideration of his brutality and aggressive conquests, he is a maniac and a killing machine. Alexander the Great was more of a villain than a hero because even though he had respect to those he had conquered, he was a psychopath who destroyed the lives and customs of many, and he was extremely arrogant which lead to his downfall.
Alexander the Great certainly was able to help different customs and ideas spread, but the number of people he had murdered and the customs he destroyed cannot be overlooked. Fed with a silver spoon, he inherited his father’s wealth and the throne of the Macedonian Empire at the age of 20. To achieve this, he mercilessly “killed his rivals before they could challenge his sovereignty” (Worksheet, Page 1). In addition to his killings, “Alexander ordered the death of one of his most esteemed generals, Parmerio” and his son (Worksheet, Page 2). Furthermore, it was said that “in a fit of drunkenness,” Alexander killed his general and close friend Cleitus (Worksheet, Page 2). These actions that he took under his reign can exemplify the fact that he is ruthless and enjoys the pleasure of his achievements in the moment; he does not consider how it can affect the future and other people long-term. When Alexander began “the invasion of the Persian Empire” to “fulfill his father’s dream,” he neglected the exhaustion of his army and continued to conquer other parts of the world. A majority of the empire went against him when he proposed the idea to change the Macedonian culture. Throughout his military conquests, Alexander the Great destroyed things that were in his way, the buildings, structures, and civilizations. When he did this, it was a loss of the culture that the civilizations had. Moreover, Alexander slaughtered and enslaved thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Overwhelmed with his own ambitious desires and suspicion, Alexander became a megalomaniac who was ruthless to those around him.
Alexander the Great also displayed villainous traits like being arrogant and inconsiderate to his own empire. His 13 years of reign consisted of not fulfilling his duties as a king, abandoned Macedon, his original empire, to conquer other lands, and not naming a legitimate heir before his death. On top of that, he even claimed that he was a “deity and god” (Video, November 20). This arrogance is even shown when he “sliced through the Gordian knot with his sword” (Worksheet, Page 1). This example also shows that Alexander achieves his goal by using any means necessary, whether or not they are underhanded. The killings of those who were close to him, as mentioned before, demonstrates that Alexander was incapable of maintaining positive relationships. Analyzing it in more depth, Alexander had to take most of his troops to be able to conquer other empires, so if he did this, he is leaving his own empire of Macedon with no defense. The list just continues – his last few days before he died from “malaria and other natural causes,” Alexander just said that the strongest general should take the empire after him (Worksheet, Page 2; Video, November 20). His lack of specificity resulted in his three generals dividing the remaining empire which were eventually taken over by foreign forces.
Ultimately, Alexander the Great’s inhumane destruction and villainous traits outweigh the political and military achievements that he accomplished during his reign. Others still think that Alexander is a hero, but this raises more questions. Should a person who has alcoholic issues and ordered the deaths of thousands be considered a hero? A ruthless person who does not take the lives of others into consideration must not be considered a hero. No matter how many good things a person has achieved in his lifetime, an evil deed is always an evil deed. The result of just one goal of Alexander the Great was the termination of the lives of others and customs that were preserved for hundreds of years.