Essay on Private Motivations for War in The Iliad

Essay on Private Motivations for War in The Iliad

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Private Motivations for War in The Iliad

    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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