Importance of Male Relationships in Homer's Iliad

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Importance of Male Relationships in Homer's Iliad

The most significant relationship in Homer's Iliad is the friendship between Achilles and Patroclus. Other male relationships play major roles in the epic and can be directly related to that of Achilles and Patroclus. The brotherhood of Agamemnon and Menelaos, and of Hector and Paris demonstrate their loyalty. They fight because of love for each other throughout the war. Achilles, however, is not driven to fight or even bother with the war until his friendship with Patroclus is broken. It is in this illustration, the poet shows the importance of friendship and brotherhood. Achilles only becomes the great warrior and leader he is fated to be in the act of friendship.

Part of brotherhood is looking after each other and giving advice. Being the older brother, Hector does this well, and also tends to look down on Paris, thinking he will never rise to Hector's status. When Paris does something showing his inexperience, Hector is there to reprimand him; teaching him and showing him right from wrong. An example of Hector's interference with Paris' actions is when Paris takes Helen away from Menelaos. Hector is discouraged and upset with the confrontation of Paris and Menelaos. Paris has one glance at Menelaos and hides like a coward, destroying any honor he may have had.

"Damn you Paris, you handsome woman-hunter, you seducer! I wish you had never been born, I wish you had died unwedded! Yes, I wish that! And it would have been much better than to be a public pest, a thing of contempt. What guffaws there must be over there! There's no pluck in you, no fight!....she was to marry into a warlike nation....a joy to your enemies, a disgrace...

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... friendship, but brings forth a new meaning to devotion, fidelity, and the needs of emotional endurance.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Camps, W. A. An Introduction to Homer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.

Clarke, Howard. Homer's Readers: A Historical Introduction to the Iliad and the Odyssey. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Press, 1981.

Homer: Iliad Trans. Robert Fagles. Introduction and notes by Bernard Knox. Viking Press. 1990.

Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Silk, M. S. Homer: The Iliad. Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Steiner, George, and Fagles, Robert, eds. Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays. Twentieth Century Views, ed. Maynard Mack. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1962.
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