The Iliad, in that it is more about the Greek hero Achilles than any other particular person, portrays the Achaean in surprisingly shocking light at times throughout the story. In his encounter with Lycaon, who had previously been taken prisoner by Achilles long ago, Achilles demonstrates the extents to which his warlike demeanor can go. Yet it is equally surprising that he is capable of impressive compassion, as is depicted elsewhere in the Iliad. What seems to be an almost unbelievable fluctuation in attitude and mood is far from unexplained or contradictory, however. In fact, there is a well-defined regularity in Achilles' actions and demeanors, to the point of being capable of systematic classification. Achilles is not a loose cannon or an unpredictable firebrand. The method to his madness can be applied to his encounter with Lycaon as it can with any of his episodes in the Iliad.
It is in Scroll XXI, at the height of his vengeful and destructive advance, that Achilles meets Lycaon. He has just captured twelve soldiers for sacrifice, and at the exact moment that he reaches Lycaon he is "thirsting for still further blood" (33). Lycaon entreats Achilles to have mercy on him. He mentions that he has been captured before by Achilles and has had precious little time to enjoy his regained freedom. He also distances himself from Hektor, who he knows has Achilles' enmity because of the death of Patroklos. In near desperation, Lycaon falls to his knees, declaring himself to Achilles as "suppliant" (64).
Achilles' reaction at this instance is, along with his defilement of Hektor's body, among the most grim and bellicose moments in the Iliad and in Achilles' development as a character. H...
... middle of paper ...
...rom being shocking, it is in fact completely consistent with the character of Achilles that we see throughout the Iliad‹fearsome in combat, respectful of honor and courage otherwise.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Camps, W. A. An Introduction to Homer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
Goodrich, Norma. Cruelty and Compassion in The Iliad . New York: Orion Press, 1962.
Homer: Iliad. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1994.
Richardson, Nicholas. The Iliad : A Commentary. Vol. VI: books 21-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1993.
Schein, Seth L. The Mortal Hero: An Introduction to Homer's Iliad. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Veiner, George, and Fagles, Robert, eds. Homer: A Collection of Critical Essays. Twentieth Century Views, ed. Maynard Mack. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 1962.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- There are different forms and examples of exemplary and classic literature which have been deemed as significant works that are highly esteemed worldwide. These examples of literature would awe the world with how much literary skill they entailed when they were composed and written: attention to details as to formation of characters, the most crafty of plots, the most eloquent speeches and lines, the most astounding of twists of scenes, and most of all, the most universal and meaningful of themes.... [tags: Honor, Homer, Iliad]
2018 words (5.8 pages)
- The epic poem, The Iliad by Homer depicts the Trojan War and its Heroes. Heroism is the qualities of a character of a person that makes them great. Two characters seen as heroic are Achilles and Hector, however; Achilles is more heroic because of his audacity, allegiance, compassion. Heroism can be defined as the pursuit of good through warfare. Achilles is more heroic than Hector because more action occurs by the time Achilles engages in battle. Achilles is audacious because his recklessness drives him to the point of seeing the destructions of every last Achaean.... [tags: heroism, audacity, allegiance, compassion]
726 words (2.1 pages)
- The Gods in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey The stories told in the Iliad and Odyssey are based on stories handed down over several generations, for they preserve (as we have seen) memories of an already quiet far distant past. The two pomes show clear connection in their language and style, in the manner in which their incidents presented, and in the combination of agreement with level, which distinguish their creation. The work was written by one author but gave two diverse views on the nature of the Olympian Gods, their relationship to humankind, and the general lot of mortals throughout their all too brief lives.... [tags: Homer The Iliad The Odyssey]
1407 words (4 pages)
- Hector is the True Hero of Iliad In today's society, a man's mind is his most important tool. In the past, however, a man's courage and strength is all that he had to keep him alive. In Homer's Iliad, courage is valued over honesty and even faithfulness to one's wife. If a hero is the most courageous man in the bunch, then Hector is more heroic than Achilles and King of the Myrmidons. Hector is the true hero of Homer's Iliad. Although Achilles and Hector are both leaders of men, Hector leads with a mature sense that gives his men reason to respect him.... [tags: Homer’s Iliad Essays]
2380 words (6.8 pages)
- The True Hero of Homer's The Iliad The Iliad is a story in which many men should be recognized as great war heroes. They all show a tremendous amount of courage to fight in such a barbaric battle. But this paper?s main focus is between two great leaders of opposing sides. Achilles, who represents the Achaians and Hector, who represents the Trojans. Though both show their bravery during many different instances in the poem, it?s quite obvious to the reader who the better of the two is.... [tags: Home Poetry Poem Iliad Essays]
880 words (2.5 pages)
- The Mysterious Homer, Author of The Odyssey and The Iliad A sketchy figure by the name of Homer is given credit for the two great epic poems of ancient Greece. The Odyssey and The Iliad influenced Greek culture, education, and morality. Little is known about Homer and many scholars question whether he existed at all. (Encarta) Some say two different unknown authors wrote the two poems. (Britannica) Others say that many oral poets were responsible for the finished products. (Britannica) In this report I will discuss the theories that support the existence of an author named Homer.... [tags: Homer]
675 words (1.9 pages)
- The Role Of Zeus in Homer's Iliad In the era of Homer, divine intervention was thought to be typical, and one of his foremost works, The Iliad, reflects this. Nearly all of the Greek gods are involved in the outcome of the Trojan War, which happens to be the background story of this epic poem. The gods are used by Homer to add twists on an otherwise standard plot of war. I shall concentrate on Zeus, however, and reflect on his actions and their outcomes on the Trojan War, and more importantly, the story of The Iliad.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1952 words (5.6 pages)
- Much of the criticism of Homer's Iliad is focused on the events of the story: the significance of the images, symbols, the role of the Greek Gods, the characters of the story. It seems that many of the critics have forgotten the very important role of Homer as the narrator of the events. His narration undermines the story. He is the medium through which the story is told. Perhaps the ambiguity of not knowing exactly who Homer is, and the fact that it was an oral story long before it was written in the form it is today, is the cause of oversight of the narrative qualities of Homer's Iliad by many critics.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1392 words (4 pages)
- "So the immortals spun our lives that we, wretched men / live on to bear such torments...." (The Iliad bk.24, ln.613-614) This pessimistic explanation of the human condition was a tradition observed and preserved by the ancient Greeks through the composition of Homer's Iliad. This one statement, made by the godlike Achilles to King Priam in the last chapter of the work, provides the reader a contextual summary of what the Greeks believed was their role in the cosmos. Homer's Iliad, among many other themes contained in the poem, “is an anthropocentric epic exposing the ancient Greek's views about man and his relationships”(Clarke 129).... [tags: Iliad essays]
1545 words (4.4 pages)
- Femininity in Homer’s Iliad In Homer’s Iliad, predominant feminine presence inspires the events of the poem and the destinies of the men involved. This feminine presence is not a product of the actions and decisions of the women in the poem, but rather a conceptual, creative feminine force without which the poem and even human life would not exist. Homer personifies this presence in nature and maintains it through the voice of the Muse, his inspiration. There is a deeper essence of a feminine presence in the poem, however, which lies in the characteristics of life itself.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1888 words (5.4 pages)