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Analysis of Epic Poems Essay

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Analysis of Epic Poems

An epic poem is a long poem that tells a story about heroes. The Iliad is a great epic poem written by Homer in the 8th century BC, reflecting on events that occurred around 1200 BC during the time of the Olympian religion. “There were twelve chief gods who supposedly lived in Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece. The twelve Olympian gods were common to all Greeks, who thus shared basic polytheistic religion (Spielvogel 84).”

The first of the two excerpts I will discuss from the Iliad, is during the time of the Greek and Trojan War. At one point, the powerful god Zeus forbids the other gods to intervene in the war, but Zeus’s wife Hera, wants her brother Poseidon to help the Greeks during this time. Hera decides to distract Zeus’s attention by seducing him with her looks. She bathes herself with ambrosia, fixes her lovely and ambrosial curls, puts on her finest earrings, and dresses in intimate apparel. Hera then makes her way down under the clouds where Zeus could see her.

Zeus then approaches her and asks where she is going. Hera lies to him and tells him she is on her way to visit her parents. He is so attracted to her that he insists they must make love above the clouds before she goes. Hera plays hard to get, and suggests they go to a place where they can’t be seen. Zeus then tries to persuade Hera by telling her that no woman, out of the many he's had relations with, had ever melted about his heart like she does. After many attempts, Zeus convinces her to make love to him under the golden cloud. Afterwards, they fall asleep, giving Poseidon his chance to help the Greeks.

Although immortal, the gods seen in the Iliad, seem to be very human like; except for the fact that they are forever youthful. Zeus expresses himself to be a strong, powerful, horny, charming, but also, unintelligent god. On the other hand, Hera is seen as a seductress. She is a liar, and a very devious woman who uses sex to get what she wants.

The second excerpt from the Iliad, is a face to face fight scene between the Trojan Prince Hector, and the Greek hero Achilles. Previous to this event, Achilles had chased Hector around the city of troy three times looking for revenge. Finally, the goddess Athena steps in and tells Achilles that she will trick Hector by disguising herself to be his brother Delphobus; and when he turns ar...


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...and fruits of their victories, and, as usually happens, growing corrupted by flattery and idleness, show a tendency to violence and arrogance, it is in these circumstances, more than ever, that the constitution is seen to possess within itself the power of correcting abuses (Tierney & Scott 103.)”


References



Homer. “The Iliad,” Trans. Richmond Lattimore, in Tierney and Scott, Western
Societies: A Documentary History.


Plato. “The Republic,” Trans. B. Jowett, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies:
A Documentary History.


Plutarch. “Life of Lycurgus,” Trans. A.H. Clough, in Tierney and Scott, Western
Societies: A Documentary History.


Polybius. “The Histories of Polybius,” Trans. E.S. Shuckburgh, in Tierney and Scott,
Western Societies: A Documentary History.


Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization to 1715., West Publ. Co, Inc., St. Paul: 1999
(4th Ed.)


Thucydides. “History of the Peloponesian War,” Trans. B. Jowett, in Tierney and Scott,
Western Societies: A Documentary History.


Xenophon. “Oconomics,” Trans. J.S. Watson, in Tierney and Scott, Western Societies: A
Documentary History.


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