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. It is the woman who gives birth to the heroes and therefore she is the first to bring her child to life and to put him on the road to death. This biological phenomenon might seem superficially irrelevant to the fears and concerns of the masculine heroes who are most concerned with death, destiny and honor, the principle themes of the Iliad. These are of great importance to these heroes because these aspects of life will determine whether or not the world will remember them. Furthermore, as fame is their only path to immortality, the desire for fame after death motivates them to live honorably. It is the feminine role in nature that introduces the men to the life of the hero which instills this longing to be remembered after death, and it is, therefore, the feminine role in nature that gives purpose to human life. Homer acknowledges this effect and uses poetic devices to maintain a powerful presence of femininity throughout the poem.
The feminine presence in the Iliad carries the poem like a pregnant woman carries a fetus in its final stages in the womb. Homer hints at this phenomenon through the many details of his poem that involve units of nine. As th...
... middle of paper ...
...en will grow while another / dies” (6.146-149). Glaukos, the “shining son of Hippolochos,” (6. 145) makes this declaration in Book Six. The fact that Homer describes him as “the shining son of Hippolochos” indicates that his ancestors were virtuous and fortunate to have an honorable descendent to tell their stories to respectful listeners. Without a decent parentage and honorable descendents, a man’s fame will not survive his death. Men do not have the power to ensure that they will have children and grandchildren to continue their lineage; it is the woman who carries the child in her womb. A man can never be sure if his child is legitimately from his or another man’s blood line. This knowledge is a power that nature gave the woman, a power that no man can ever control.
Homer, Iliad, trans. Richard Lattimore New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1965.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Women have always been recognized for their strong influence on the actions of men. Because of his love for Delia, Samson told his secret of his power and ended up losing it. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth urged Macbeth to commit murder. More recently, Eleanor Roosevelt strongly influenced the decisions that Franklin D. Roosevelt made. Women of Homer's epic, The Iliad, were considered primary instigators of the Trojan war. The characteristics attributed to women in ancient Greek mythology may have been key to the outbreak of the war.... [tags: Role of Women in the Trojan War]
582 words (1.7 pages)
- 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 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 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)
- The Character Achilles in Homer's The Iliad "The first book of The Iliad, appropriately titled the "Rage of Achilles," sets the scene for the remainder of the epic" (selu.edu/Academics/Depts/WritingCenter/The_Growth_of_Achilles.htm). "This rage is invoked by pride, a theme of pivotal importance for the Greeks. Pride is the source of the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon in Book 1. The incident that provoked Achilles rage took place in the tenth and final year of the Achaean attack on Troy.... [tags: Iliad essays]
979 words (2.8 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)
- Achilles' Honor in Homer's Iliad The Greeks placed great importance on personal honor. Why is this. Is it because to them man I nothing without honor. Or is it that the honor is more important than the man. "Honor to the Greeks is something that is won by a man's prowess, his ability to fight and be victorious on the battle field"(Schein 62). This is just one example of how honor is obtained. A second method of gaining honor is to be a great orator, one must posses the ability to speak in the assembly and express his ideas eloquently, and persuasively to the gathered body.... [tags: Iliad essays]
1308 words (3.7 pages)