Wars are often complex in nature and are fought for diverse reasons.
In the Iliad, powerful gods, great nations, and heroic people all fight for
different reasons. Each has private motivations to fight the war. These
private motivations are of special interest, because they help define the
consequences and outcomes of the war. The universal war of the gods, social
war of the Greeks and Trojans, and the war for Achilles' honor are private
motivations of the Trojan war. These private motivations seem to influence
and shape each other in many distinct ways.
The universal war between the gods over the apple of discord
consequently lead to the social war between the Greeks and the Trojans. For
example, Aphrodite promised Paris that he could have the most beautiful woman in
the world if he gave the apple of discord to her. He did so, and decided to go
and get his reward. Unfortunately, the most beautiful women in the world, Helen,
was the wife of the Greek King Menelaus. The abduction of Helen by Paris lead
to the Trojan war. The promise made by Aphrodite to Paris in order to get the
apple of discord resulted in the abduction of Helen and the start of the Trojan
war. Therefore, Aphrodite, in the universal war, set the stage for the social
war of the Greeks and Trojans. Another time the gods influenced the social war
was when the Greeks and Trojans had a one on one battle to decide the outcome of
the war. The Greeks chose King Menelaus and the Trojans chose Paris. Menelaus
and Paris fought, but when Paris was about to be killed he was whisked off by
... middle of paper ...
...s social war lead to Achilles'
war to redeem his honor. Achilles' private conquest then had a enormous effect
in giving the Greeks victory of the social war. The resolution of the social
war eventually lead to peace on Mt. Olympus. The three private motivations of the
Iliad thus created, carried out, and concluded the Trojan war.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Homer: Iliad. Trans. Stanley Lombardo. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1994.
Mueller, M. The Iliad. London: Allen & Unwin. 1986.
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.
Segal, Charles. Singers, Heroes, and Gods in the Odyssey. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994.
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