Theme Of Honor And Honor In The Illiad

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At the time of the Illiad, Greek society had many set ideas and an abundance of values that were vital to their people. In the Iliad, honor and glory appear to be the central theme throughout the text. Fame after death became relatively important to the Greeks, as a result, a conflict is sparked between the Trojans and Achaeans. The value of honor was so significant that it was influential not only to the individual, but the family and one’s status as well. This is believed to be the reason to why the war as well as events occurred. Overall, honor was important to the Greeks, as a result, it defined them. The Greek heroes were believed to be the core of their society, they lived their lives according to their significant value of honor and…show more content…
The honor and glory of an individual was gained through the respect and influence he commanded as well. Honor and glory were important to the ancient Greeks because their social status was not fixed. The positions of power in the Illiad were not easily inherited, most gained their social position through honorable and respected actions. This mobility in Greeks culture inspired a cooperative attitude between their local leaders and their followers. The leaders of the Greeks required voluntary cooperation of the people below them, and they only achieved that with respect and honor. For example, This quality allowed Achilles to disobey Agamemnon and refuse to fight when Agamemnon dishonors him by taking his prize. Many of the strategic decisions that were made for the army throughout the Iliad were reviewed by a group of respected fighters and elders, even though Agamemnon was considered one of the main leaders. In book nine, facing a rout at the hands of the Trojans, Agamemnon calls a council of leaders to persuade them that the army should “run away with our ships (Homer, Iliad 9.27)” before losing more men. However, Agamemnon’s suggestion shocked his audience, and his idea is emphatically rejected. Agamemnon’s leadership position can easily be transferred to another, if he begins to falter. Status was able to fluctuate, and therefore it was necessary to continually protect your honor…show more content…
His brother Paris, on the other hand, must be dragged out of the city to fight, causing other Trojans to say shameful things about his character. Both of these heroes viewed their women as a sign of status and honor, but to sacrifice the symbol of honor for the sake of the army, as in Agamemnon’s case, does not diminish his perception of honor. Many other respected men try to convince Agamemnon to return his prize, but Agamemnon is overwhelmed with the idea that he is being dishonored. In this situation, the communities view outweighs that of the individual. To save lives, Agamemnon must give up one of his most prized possessions, which is viewed by himself as dishonorable. However, Agamemnon’s perceived slight does not compare with the insult to Achilles’ honor with Agamemnon’s appropriation of his woman. Achilles feels his honor as acutely as Agamemnon, and declares, “I am minded no longer to stay here dishonored and pile up your wealth and luxury (Homer, Iliad 1.170),” as he removes himself from the main
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