Masculinity In The Iliad

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A marginally campy film adaptation of a beloved stage musical set in the court of King Arthur is likely not conceived with the intent to provide profound insight into the state of the human condition. It is borne of an unfilled demand for entertainment, above all else, and “Camelot” delivers a touching retelling of a familiar legend with only slightly butchered musical numbers. By contrast, a sprawling war epic centering on the role of the gods and influence of fate upon human lives conveys a sense of gravitas missing from most moviemusicals. Yet The Iliad, too, is meant primarily to amuse. Beyond the entertainment value of both works, however, the characterization of certain perceived heroes exemplifies the concept of toxic masculinity“ the…show more content…
When controlled for cultural bias, Homer’s The Iliad and Lerner and Lowe’s “Camelot” portray strikingly similar narratives about the damage inherent to the institution of masculinity as it manifests through the hubris of male heroes. In perhaps the most common classical representation of hubris, both works depict contempt for the gods: in The Iliad through direct defiance and in “Camelot” through presumption above mortal station. Agamemnon is the most blatant perpetrator, telling Chryses that “the wreaths of god will never save [him] then” in response to Chryses’ request for the return of his daughter (78). In keeping with the contemporary Greek perspective that the gods are flawed, tangible actors in human lives, Apollo delivers retribution directly via a flaming arrow, dooming the Greeks to plague and pestilence. Agamemnon’s impertinence leads to the curse in a clear chain of cause and effect. Similarly, Achilles directly punishes the Greeks because his “heart still heaves with rage whenever [he] calls to mind that arrogance of [Agamemnon’s]how he mortified [Achilles]” (273). In this instance,…show more content…
Thus, love in the purest romantic sense is fundamentally incompatible with both men’s internalized archetype of the ideal warrior. Sincere affection creates tension between the external display of glory and entitlement and the inherently humbling tenderness they feel, leading them to selfimmolation. Achilles, on learning of Patroclus’ death and his own impending demise, swears that he “will follow [Patroclus] underneath the ground... venting [his] rage on them for [Patroclus’] destruction” (478). Achilles is foundering under his grief, since grief is a predominantly introspective and noncombative emotion. Since genuine, nonmilitant emotion is incongruous with Achilles’ existing perception of himself as a warrior first, he still sees no recourse but violence, vowing vengeance instead of seeking emotional closure. Subsequently, Achilles becomes entrenched in a series of escalating atrocities that he feels he needs to commit in order to properly cope with his love for Patroclus and consequent

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