Differences in the Quest for Fame Between Modern Society and The Illiad by Homer

Differences in the Quest for Fame Between Modern Society and The Illiad by Homer

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While dignity, pride, honor, glory, fame, and revenge are still important in today’s society, these conditions are not nearly as important as they once were. People of modern times still seek fame to the same degree that the characters in The Iliad once did, but our means of receiving it have changed. In the times of The Iliad, lasting fame was more valuable to a person because they considered their name all that was left behind of them when they journeyed to the underworld. Today, we have more means of being remembered once we pass, such as pictures and even school records. In Homer’s era, warriors dreamed of eternal fame through rhapsodes’ retelling of their splendor on the battlefield. Instead of gaining fame through battle, people of today would attempt to become famous through a talent like singing or athleticism. We do not seek fame for our name to be carried once we die, but most of us would rather enjoy the fame we gather within our lifetimes. The characters in The Iliad are proof to this idea of legacy through fame. Hector speaks not of his fame, but his son’s fame when he says, “Then one day may someone say of him as he returns from war ‘He is better far off than his father’!” (137). I think our definition of fame has shifted since the years of Homer, and so has our techniques to obtain it. Today’s definition of fame is more superficial. According to Debra Shigley, J.D., there is a formula to achieve fame (Shigley, 2011). First, one must package his or her expertise with personal branding. Then, he or she uses publicity to become visible. Last, it is necessary to sell the original expertise at a significant price. While people of early times were concerned with fame that made them immortal, modern people are more concer...


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...n-beneficial. When one seeks revenge, it rarely leaves the aspirant unharmed. In hopes of acquiring revenge, it is thought that being mature and “turning the other cheek” is the most fulfilling course (Clay, 2013). If revenge must be achieved, “don’t get mad, get even” a valid choice ((user), 2014). To get even, pranks are usually administered. For instance, Felix Clay of the Cracked blogging site advises the readers to secretly give their victims unwanted magazine subscriptions (Clay, 2013). This seems very childish, but I would prefer it over the ancient Greeks’ inclination for murder and war.

Dignity is a timeless desire and will always be chased by the human race. Compared to fame and revenge, dignity is a healthier ambition. Aristotle once said, “Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them” (How to regain your dignity, 2013).

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