Masculinity In The Iliad Essay

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Men fighting at war is a common depiction of how battles are fought. As with Homer’s The Iliad, the mortal and semi-mortal men are combat rated based on their personification of masculinity. Homer sets this up through various literary tropes which range from the characterization of heroes or major figures in the poem, rousing speeches, and analogies. All of these tropes function using masculinity as a way to determine who fights best or at all in some cases. Homer’s gendered narrative aids in the development of masculinity being the deciphering tool which designates shame and glory in the midst of warfare. Masculinity aids in contextualizing the characters actions as seen through the Greeks perspective as his writing are a reflection of the cultural norms of ancient Greece.
Homer’s The Iliad, heroism and glorification of war with masculine ideals for both the Achaians and the Trojans.
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Hektor’s criticism lies in Paris’ reluctance to fight Menelaos which is seen as cowardice and weak. Since Homer uses masculinity to define heroism in war, Paris is not viewed as a hero and is emasculated by his brother who is the Trojan’s “bravest champion”. This again falls under the Homer’s ideals as a reflection of Greek cultural norms that men fight and since they fight, they are strong. Similarly to the Hektor and Paris dialog, Homer uses Achilleus to emasculate one of his fellow soldiers because he is not fighting. In this case, Achilleus provides a gendered analogy to call into question Patroklos’ masculinity and therefore his ability as a solider. Homer’ pattern of using masculinity as a means of exemplifying combat skill is seen when Achilleus says:
Why then are you crying like some poor little girl, Patroklos, who runs after her mother and begs to be picked up and carried, and clings to her dress, and holds her back when she tries to hurry, and gazes tearfully into her face, until she is picked up

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