The Iliad

analytical Essay
662 words
662 words

The first existential theme in The Iliad is Akhilleus’ conflict between options. In book nine of The Iliad, Akhilleus confronts options that will ultimately decide his future. He states:
My mother, Thetis of the silver feet, tells me of two possible destinies carrying me towards death: two ways: if on the one hand I remain to fight around Troy town. I lose all hope of home but gain unfading glory; on the other, if I sail back to my own land my glory fails-but a long life lies ahead for me. (Homer 210)
Akhilleus is facing these two options and needs to decide (A) if he will fight to gain remembrance throughout history as a war hero or (B) does he vacate Troy and live an uneventful but long life. Option (A) would give him everlasting glory that he ultimately craves. He craves glory …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how akhilleus confronts options that will ultimately decide his future in book nine of the iliad.
  • Analyzes the importance of sartre's claim in the analysis of the creation of an inanimate object.
  • Analyzes how sartre's slogan "existence precedes essence" introduces what is most distinctive of existentialism, namely, the idea that no general, non-formal account of what it means to be human can be given.
  • Analyzes how dr. crowell demonstrates that essence is acquired through living and existing in itself. akhilleus must exist and live to have existential options.

Akhilleus’ mother is a sea nymph, which makes her a goddess of water. His ancestry bundled with an innate craving to be comparable to the gods, influences Akhilleus to strive for immortality. Demigods are mortal unlike gods, thus, Akhilleus strives for immortality through the want of remembrance as a great hero throughout history. In contrast, option (B) does not offer him the glory of a historical hero. In the eyes of Akhilleus, vacating Troy is equivalent to the fainthearted. He ultimately chooses option (A) and fights a successful battle against the Trojans. His choice to fight reflects the Greek concept termed Arête, which stands for excellence and moral virtue. In a similar fashion, a twentieth century existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre composed an essay named “Existentialism is a Humanism.” Sartre demonstrates in his essay that individuals have options between choices in regards to their essence or purpose. He argues that individuals come into existence first and then decide what their essence is. Sartre states, “What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself,

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