Central to any study of the humanities is the human condition – our nature, which has historically shown that it is equally capable of both good and evil deeds – and the problem that arises from it; specifically, why do humans suffer? Many philosophies and religions have their own account for this aspect of humanity, and we find that what the accounts have in common is each explains the human condition in terms that are similar to how that institution of thought explains the true nature of reality.
Homer’s The Iliad is an extravagant account of the Trojan War which describes many behavioral similarities between the gods and people. The name of Book 14: “Hera Outflanks Zeus” epitomizes the disparity between the gods; Hera first slyly convinces Aphrodite, Zeus’ daughter, to make her irresistible. “Quick with treachery noble Hera answered, ‘Give me Love, give me Longing now, the powers you use to overwhelm all gods and mortal men!’ / Aphrodite, smiling her everlasting smile, replied, ‘Impossible—worse, it’s wrong to deny your warm request…’” (Homer, 376) Next, Hera allies with Sleep to deceive Zeus so that Poseidon can help the Achaeans. With the power of Aphrodite, she plans to seduce Zeus and have him put to sleep as they make love. “’Sleep, master of all gods and all mortal men,… Put Zeus to sleep for me! Seal his shining eyes as soon as I’ve gone to bed with him, locked in love, and I will give you gifts…’” (Homer, 377) We observe here that Hera tempts Sleep with bribes as people often do when they know something they want is difficult to obtain. These envious, deceitful, and other humanistic qualities of the gods inevitably produce disagreement amongst them, which is in turn manifested in the lives of mortals.
In polytheistic Greek cultures such as that of the world of The Iliad, the gods affect the lives of mortals based primarily on the gods’ whims. Each people have their own contingent of gods who support them, but also other gods who dislike them and whom they do not worship. This conflict between the influences of one god’s favor and another’s menace on the Achaeans is portrayed in the death of Patroclus, Achilles’ brother-in-arms. Hera and Poseidon help enormously to keep the Trojans from burning the Achaeans’ ship. Patroclus, no longer able to sit by idly as his comrades die, ...
... middle of paper ...
... It would be unfair to assume that, however, because it is no more provable or disprovable than any of the other theories. The only conclusion we can draw from this discussion of the human condition, therefore, is that there is no solution to its problem for whole of humanity. If people are troubled by the problem, they must adopt a theory for their own belief from those independently suggested by the philosophies and religions of the world. Or, they could turn to another of their own construction. Under this system, each person is individually correct and, as a whole, we should be satisfied with our abilities to cope with the human condition.
1. Homer. The Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Books, 1990.
2. The Book of Job. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. New York: HarperCollins Publishers,
3. Plato. The Republic. Trans. Richard W. Sterling and William C. Scott. New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.
4. Holy Bible (New International Version). International Bible Society, 1973, 1978,
5. The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. Trans. Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall.
Chicago: KAZI Publications.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Iliad, one of Homer’s Epics, was written about a ten year war between the city of Troy and the Greek city-states. This great poem, still somewhat prevalent today in modern society, is the tale of the Trojan War. Recently the epic was recreated into a two hour film loaded with historical inaccuracies, although in some instances, does follow the Iliad fairly well. Some of the mistakes made by Hollywood are minor details, such as when the Trojans brought the gigantic wooden horse into the city of Troy.... [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Achilles, Odyssey]
1476 words (4.2 pages)
- Hon·or [/ˈänər/], noun: good quality or character as judged by other people; a high regard or respect; personal integrity; reputation or privilege. The notion of honor is prevalent in the epic poem The Iliad. In The Iliad, Homer (a famous Greek author) expresses the quintessence honor brings to the Greek and Trojan soldiers. He shows how honor is a requirement for one who wants to be a hero and describes the extent to which honor plays a role in the lives of the Greeks and the Trojans. The warriors ' goal of honor influences how they behave in the story and shows the impact honor has on each of their decisions.... [tags: Iliad, Trojan War, Achilles, Homer]
1184 words (3.4 pages)
- The times are in constant motion, and as a result the times always changing. Not only do life styles change over time, but peoples worldviews change from generation to generation. Looking back to the past, as scholars of history, we can see these worldview changes. The Iliad and the Inferno represent both radically different and strikingly similar concepts of the world with different aspects, such as society and religion, at their respective times. By investigating these works, one can begin to gain deeper knowledge of the history of mankind.... [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Achilles, Homer]
1012 words (2.9 pages)
- Can two things ever truly be exactly the same. When it comes to epic heroes, I’m not sure. In both the Iliad and the Odyssey, written by Homer and translated by Robert Fagles, the journey of two epic heroes are depicted for us. Achilles, hero of the book The Iliad, is fighting in the Trojan War. Odysseus, hero of the book The Odyssey, is simply fighting to get home. Although both the epic heroes are put through some of the same very tough and difficult situations, it doesn’t mean they are quite the same person.... [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Achilles, Odyssey]
1901 words (5.4 pages)
- The Iliad and The Odyssey are epic poems written by Homer, telling the stories of the heroes: Akhilleus, the strongest man in the Akhaian army, fighting in the Trojan War, and Odysseus, the cleverest man in the army, who is trying to get home after that war. The gods often intervene, shaping the lives of the characters. Divine intervention in The Iliad and The Odyssey exists to characterize the statuses of the mortals and the gods. The gods remind the mortals of their power over them through divine intervention, elevating the statuses of the gods and reinforcing their superiority.... [tags: Trojan War, Iliad, Odyssey, Poseidon]
894 words (2.6 pages)
- Writers of history often have the habit of pulling out one’s rose-tinted glasses to fondly write of times long past. Homer was the Greek leading man of this. Homer most famous works are The Iliad and The Odyssey, both epics of famous mythological Greek heroes. Homer first wrote The Iliad some time in the eighth century BC about the Trojan War. The real Trojan War was in the thirteen century. The time gap between the actual event and books only proves the level of nostalgia Homer applies to his writings.... [tags: Trojan War, Achilles, Iliad, Apollo]
763 words (2.2 pages)
- Throughout Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, the gods resemble and take on human characteristics. While it is assumed that gods are divine entities incapable of human transgression, they are portrayed with all the flaws of mortals in The Iliad. The gods are a manifestation of human emotions consequently helping to explain the behavior of the humans in The Iliad. The actions of the heroes are what determine their fate, not divine intervention. Ultimately, the humans in The Iliad have certain attributes that provide reason for their behavior, while the gods flow with this, allowing humans freely make their own choices.... [tags: Iliad, Trojan War, Hera, Zeus]
1039 words (3 pages)
- The communist government in China has many of the Chinese citizens convinced that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not controlling them. Some citizens believe that the CCP are honorable leaders, and the people who revolt against the government are foolish. In reality, the people who revolt are the heroes trying to save their country, and the leaders are corrupt, power-hungry, cruel people. The real hero does not always get the acknowledgement he deserves; sometimes the nemesis is mistakenly believed to be the hero.... [tags: Iliad, Achilles, Greek mythology, Apollo]
1849 words (5.3 pages)
- Women of the Iliad In the Iliad we saw women as items of exchange and as markers of status for the men who possessed them (Chryseis and Briseis, whom Agame mnon and Achilles argue over in Book I). We saw them in their normal social roles as mothers and wives (Hecuba, Andromache in Book VI). We saw stereotypical characterizations of them as fickle (Helen in Book VI), seductive, and deceitful (Hera in Book XIV). We see them as an obstacle that the male hero has to overcome or resist to fulfill his heroic destiny (Andromache's entreaties to Hector in Book VI).... [tags: Homer Women Iliad]
1237 words (3.5 pages)
- Homer's Iliad is commonly understood as an epic about the Trojan War, but its meaning goes deeper than that. The Iliad is not only a story of the evolution of Achilleus' persona, but at times it is an anti-war epic as well. The final book proposes many questions to the reader. Why not end with the killing of Hektor. Most stories of war conclude with the triumphant victory of good over evil, but in the Iliad, the final thoughts are inclined to the mourning of the defeated Hektor, which accentuates the fact that good has not triumphed over evil, but simply Achilleus triumphed over Hektor.... [tags: Homer Iliad Analysis]
908 words (2.6 pages)