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The Message of Homer's Iliad
In Homer's Iliad, Homer shows his views on heroes, villains, and war. He shows that heroes have great qualities to them and that villains have evil qualities to them. He also shows that even heroes have villainous qualities. Homer also tries to convey that all warriors have a choice between a life of war and a life of peace.
Homer's view of a hero displays bravery, martial skills, and even friendship. Hector is portrayed as the perfect hero in The Iliad. He displays amazing martial skills by being one of the Trojans' top warriors. Hector also shows that he loves his family, he's seen as a man who can be a great warrior and a loving father. He's very devoted to his wife and loves his children. In one scene in the poem, his son was scared of him because of his great helmet. Hector, seeing this, soon removed his helmet and let his son comes to him. This shows that even though he still fights in a war, he still has time to care for his family. Odysseus is another hero who is unwavering in his devotion to his people. Throughout the epic, he shows that he will never betray his people; he even does a marvelous job in rallying up his troops. Priam was also portrayed as a hero. He was a leader who always cared for his men. He even cared about his son Paris who was basically the reason why the war had begun. Even the unnamed warriors were heroes. They gave away 10 years of their life to fight for their leaders.
Homer's view of a villain is petty, selfish, and disloyal. Achilles is shown as an extreme villain in The Iliad. In almost three quarters of the epic, he stays home and just continues to argue with Agamemnon. He may display incredible martial skills on the battlefield, but he still will not fight in the war. He's petty because he's not fighting in his country's war just because he is in a small argument. It also shows that he is disloyal because he is not serving his leader by not fighting in the war.
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Homer shows that everyone has a choice between a life of war and a life of peace. In the epic, most characters have their own heroic qualities and villainous qualities, some more than others. Achilles, although displaying unmatched martial ability in the battle field, is shown as a selfish and petty objector. Hector, although portrayed as a family man, runs like a coward from Achilles during battle. This shows that even the greatest of heroes and the worst of villains have their own ups and downs, yet everyone has their choice of living one life from the other. The fight between Diomedes and Glaucus is a perfect example. Diomedes was in a rage, after killing hundreds of people, even attacking gods, was ready to enter battle once more. Yet when they both realize that their ancestors had been allies, they decided to lay down their weapons and continue their ancestors' wishes. This shows that even though warriors can battle, they can also live a life a peace and friendship. The shield in which Thetis convinces Hephaestus to create for Achilles is an excellent example of how Homer tries to convey to the reader that there is war and peace. The shield had two cities, one was peaceful and one was in a time of war. Just the fact that Homer spent 5 pages just describing the shield, shows that he is emphasizing the fact that it is important that readers can see the choices for the warriors.
In The Iliad, Homer shows that war brings out the best and worst in people. It brings out the best of martial ability, loyalty, and love to family. It also brings out pettiness, disloyalty, and murder. Homer never leads to one side more than the other, he just tries to convey the book in an objective light.