Simone Weil argues that the way Homer presents war and the use of force in the Iliad, in all of its brutality, violence, and bitterness bathes the work in the light of love and justice (pg 25). The point Weil is making is that by depicting the suffering of all of these men regardless of their side, or strength Homer equalizes them in a “condition common to all men”(pg 25). Because Homer equalizes them the reader can feel empathy, or at least compassion for all of the men. However while Weil is correct about how Homer’s descriptions of war and force reveal justice and love, she is wrong in thinking that justice and love are mere “accents” to the Iliad, and progress through the story “without ever becoming noticeable”(pg 25). Homer not only reveals this underlying idea to the reader through his tone and even handedness, but also through Achilles’ journey. By the end of the Iliad Achilles understands justice and love in much the same way that the reader does.
The Iliad has been a tremendous force in the development of Western culture and the impacts from the modern dominant ideologies derived from the culture are felt globally. In particular, the traditional patriarchal nature of the Iliad presents an intriguing allegory with the values of the later western cultures. It is crucial to make the link between the Iliad and the schooling of the educated classes. Although the classics have been largely deemphasized in contemporary secondary and tertiary education they formed a significant basis of an education prior to the 20th century (Denham). The “rediscovery” of these texts during the medieval period magnified their importance in perpetuating beliefs present in the upper crust of society. In this course the concept of interpretation often arises and I wished to delve deeper into the academic byproducts of work on the Iliad. The question then becomes; in what ways can we see the root of modern beliefs in the Iliad. The Iliad would have served as part of the formative basis for a multiple of dominant ideologies that are ever-present in Western society.
Achilles’ Anger and Unreconciliation: Reassessing the Concepts of Mortality and Honor
The subject of Homer’s epic poem, the Iliad, is very clearly stated--it is “the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles.” The reader remains continually aware of the extent of Achilles’ rage, yet is never told the reason why Achilles remains angry and unreconciled. There is no definitive answer to this question. Achilles is not a static character. He is constantly changing; thus the question of why he remains angry solicits different answers at various stages throughout the poem.
Change, in The Iliad, appears in many forms, but most originate from the actions of others. It is human nature for men to follow their will almost without any regard for those around them. This unwavering willpower brings change upon the weaker wills of other men. Faced with change, the weaker man’s path is altered either slightly or drastically. From this alteration, man is given choices or must make it himself. Through these experiences, they become more aware or more confused with what goes on around them. Regardless of whether they deal with it or not, they accept that change is inevitable and will continue forward. Knowing their lives are comparatively ephemeral to the immortals, they have the tendency of seizing the day. It almost sounds humbling when they say, “no man can turn aside nor escape…let us go on and win glory
Women of the Iliad
In the Iliad we saw women as items of exchange and as markers of status for the men who possessed them (Chryseis and
Briseis, whom Agame mnon and Achilles argue over in Book I). We saw them in their normal social roles as mothers and wives
(Hecuba, Andromache in Book VI). We saw stereotypical characterizations of them as fickle (Helen in Book VI), seductive,
and deceitful (Hera in Book XIV). We see them as an obstacle that the male hero has to overcome or resist to fulfill his heroic
destiny (Andromache's entreaties to Hector in Book VI).
What role did the women play in The Iliad ? Most of the women that are featured in this book are very strong and courageous. Though the spotlight may not always be featured on them, they take up a good portion of the book and somewhat centered around them. Most events that occur are because of them which result in some people dying. Take Helen for example, she is kidnapped, raped by Paris, and put into hardship; after all the whole war is caused by her. Having the reputation of being the most beautiful women in the world and having such a nice husband, Menalaus, how could such a thing happen to her?
The Iliad tells the story of the Trojan War, which lasted 10 years. The Grecians eventually won the war, but the outcome could have very easily shifted due to a quarrel between King Agamemnon and Achilles. Pride and anger is what the two men were fighting about. This story is a very good example of how those two simple emotions can lead to tragedy.
Many great tales of brave men have always been told throughout history. Most famous stories that are known of brave men took place when wars were fought with swords, and bows, and halberds, and not with guns, and missiles. Although the best of stories of brave men didn’t always happen in real life but only in the thought of man. Even some great have been made into plays, movies and shows. In the book writing Homer has always been a great author, and story teller. Homer has always made stories feel so real, and one of homers best stories “The Iliad” has always been always been told because of it love aspect, its fighting as well as the involvement of the gods.
Two warrior-centric cultures, separated by oceans, but united by institutionalized patriarchy and a codified sense of the ideal warrior. It is crucial to first discuss the context in which these two societies functioned. The Iliad is likely based off historical events that occurred in Western Turkey in the 12th century BC. This was a culture of frequent war and constant instability. On the other hand, Chushingura takes place in the early 18th century AD under the political background of the stable Tokugawa Shogunate and the relatively prosperous Genroku period. By this time samurai were less warrior and more bureaucratic administrators, which makes the events of Chushingura all the more impressive. This essay will analyze the two works comparatively under the framework of honor, shame, and fate. The primary difference between the two is the focus on individuality in the Iliad and the collective in Chushingura. Both works rely heavily on the concept of honor, but with significantly different cultural norms in regards to the accumulation or loss of this fundamental trait. Shame is more pronounced in the story of Chushingura relating to the more structured nature of samurai culture and the collective pressures involved. Finally, fate plays a greater role in the Iliad with the God’s playing a major role in the state of human existence.
“Then the screaming and shouts of triumph rose up together, of men killing and men killed, and the ground ran blood.” From first examination the Iliad seems to be an epic founded on an idealized form of glory, the kind that young boys think about when they want to join the army. A place full of heroism and manliness where glory can be achieved with a few strokes of a sword and then you go home and everything is just lovely. Many people view the Iliad this way, based on it’s many vivid battle descriptions and apparent lack of remorse for the deaths that occur. This, however, is not how war is presented in the Iliad. Homer presents a very practical outlook on war countering the attainment of the glory with the reality of its price and the destruction it causes. He successfully does this by showing the value of the lives of each person that dies and, in a sense, mourning their passing, describing the terror and ugliness of war, and, through the characters of Achilleus and Hector, displaying the high price of glory.