What is the Iliad about
War scene in the Iliad
History provides evidence of frequent wars between countries over an extended period. The scene of war entails violence and deaths which leave the survivors in grief. In The Iliad, written by Homer, the book gives the reader a human perspective of the war. The narration provides what war entails in its natural form. It brings out the impact on people as a result of engaging in war, and some of them have become identified as dignity, pride, and honor (Lynn, 18). However, alongside the virtues adopted, there exist vices such as revenge fame and glory. The virtues were upheld and greatly valued by the society. They were desired and highly sought for hence some were brought down by the vices. Those who strived to obtain honor had to fight the temptation of excess dignity and pride or else end up seeking after fame and glory.
In the society of Greeks, as Homer narrates, the virtues were essential in their lives. The society was guided by these values and provided a sense of direction to achieving their goals. In the modern world, such values have eroded with time as those who upheld them passed on. The way of life
The greek warriors
The Greek warriors highly upheld the virtues of dignity and honor. The heroes alongside the warriors identified themselves with honor and dignity (Linn, 23). They knew they had an obligation to honor all people regardless of their age. The honor was magnified when they passed on while on the battlefield. As depicted in the book when Patroclus dies by the hands of Prince Hector, his death is celebrated and given great honor (Rosenberg, 145). Also, Achilles showed honor to his fallen friends by hosting games. The today society does not show honor as much, and it has become of less importance in every new day. Few people care the extent to which their actions impact their community as well as their families. The society of today is individualistic hence the attitude of “me first” rules them. There is a need for change in perception as this would mean individuals are thinking through their actions before executing them. The Homeric society was a warrior society and death in the battlefield was the highest honor a soldier would give to his or her society. Our society today has more than soldiers, and every member of the community can earn the honor in several ways without losing their lives. Daily actions such as helping the poor, caring for the sick, defending the minority in the society along other acts can earn one honor and dignity.
Achilles decision in the Iliad of not engaging in battle with Agamemnon is more of a cowardice act from the perspective of a modern reader. He had superhuman strength and considered as close to the gods. His act was a less brave one for a warrior of his capability. Achilles deep-seated flaws hinder his abilities as a great hero of his time. Despite his abilities and proving his might by conquering all men in the Achaean army, his weaknesses impede him from acting with integrity and nobility. In modern days an individual may permit his or her character to be influenced by pride. However, pride, if not tackled in the right manner, can be disastrous (SparkNote on The Iliad). Itts okay to have pride in one’s self, through proper dressing or being proud of an achievement after putting hard work on it. However, if a good thought is not taken into consideration, then problems arise. In the Homeric society, Achilles left his comrades since Agamemnon had disrespected him and went on to pray that the Trojans get to slaughter them. In our modern society, such individuals with Achilles attribute can quickly turn their back on others due to a high sense of pride. If not well managed, it is easy to engage an innocent person in a fight when his pride gets questioned. The Iliad apparently does not depict any positive aspect of pride. If one tends to find out the right side of pride, then it will impact well. A good example includes taking ownership and having pride in onets work as well as appearance.
Achilles in the homeric society;
When looking at fame, it has dominated the today’s world just like it was several thousands of years ago. However, the understanding and perception of popularity are different in the modern world as compared to that of the postmodern society. During the era of Achilles, fame was more like having a thirst for glory. Achilles in the Homeric society desires to make his name memorable for decades after his death and therefore decides to live a life of sacrifice to achieve his purpose. The fame in today’s society is very clear as most people seek after it (“The Iliad – Homer – Ancient Greece – Classical Literature”). Several individuals readily give up their identity to gain fame and fortune. Celebrities are well known to change their image, name, religion alongside other aspects of them to achieve recognition. The lengths extend to faking relationships to be famous in the society.
Looking at the last value, revenge, it has been constant throughout time. Revenge is one of those evil acts that rarely change. The feeling or desires to revenge are still the same after being offended. In the Iliad, Achilles upon hearing about the death of Patroclus, he looks after Agamemnon so as to reconcile with him. It is an unexpected act for him to put in the past the disrespect Agamemnon showed him hence he seeks revenge once disrespected him becomes a thing of the past as Achilles seeks revenge. He becomes thirsty for blood and looks forward to murdering Hector (SparkNote on The Iliad). Achilles in his bloodthirsty quest goes on to maul his opponents without mercy, gains control over River Xanthus, Trojan men loses their lives, and he gets to desecrate the lifeless body of Hector. Revenge is similar to pride as it is dangerous hence makes a right person perform unthinkable acts. Hate leads an individual to become irrational and act like an animal.
The possession of virtues such as pride, dignity, and honor is a good thing. However, when a person loses focus on the pure and genuine reason for possessing them, then it becomes harmful and leads to vices. It is good to take pride in oneself while upholding on their honor and dignity.
Hunt, Lynn. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. Print.
Linn, Bob. The Iliad. Cliffnotes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. Web.
Rosenberg, Donna. World Mythology: An Anthology of the Great Myths and Epics. 3rd ed. Lincolnwood: NTC Pub. Group, 1999. Print.
SparkNotes Editors. SparkNote on The Iliad.t SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web.13 Aug. 2014.
“The Iliad – Homer – Ancient Greece – Classical Literature”. Ancient-literature.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 7 Mar. 2017.