Homer, though a great poet of early Greek times, was not a philosopher. However, his views of the soul do seem somewhat similar, in a basic sense, to those of some early philosophers. For Homer, both the soul and the body are important, but the body is the most important. The soul is something like breath, and when a person releases his or her final breath upon death he or she also releases his or her soul. That being said, the soul does not die when the body dies; souls actually continue ‘living’ in Hades after they lose their body. For Homer, the soul is keenly tied to who the person is, meaning the soul is an important part of the person because it is what gives personality to the body. Since the soul is what makes people who they are, then the souls without their bodies would still have the same characteristics of those specific people. We see this in an account where Odysseus passes through Hades while trying to make his way home after the Trojan War. He encounters the souls, or spirits, of people he knew in life. He can identify...
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... soul. Those damaged souls are supposed to act as a warning or deterrent for others, to encourage them to not live badly. Because it is too late for those souls to change, they can just be used as an example for others, who see the suffering they will endure if they do not change their focus from external goods to what is good for the soul.
Homer, Heraclitus, Democritus, and Socrates all hold a firm belief that there is indeed a human soul that all living humans possess, though that is where the complete agreement between the four ends. They all vary in their beliefs and explanations of importance, function, and composition. Regardless of the differences between them, the latter three do seem to have found some sort of starting point with Homer’s view of the soul; Heraclitus, Democritus, and Socrates seem to be using him as a very basic basis for their own beliefs.
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