Homer's Iliad

Homer's Iliad

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" Yet if somewhere I could only get some word of Aias of the great war cry, we two might go, and keep the spirit of battle even in the face of divinity, if we might win the body for Pelid Achilleus. It would be out best among evils." Iliad Ch. 17 Ln.101-105                                                                       

           This is a quote from Homer's Iliad in which Menelaos and Aias are both fighting for the Greeks. This quote is talking about how Menelaos, a Greek warrior, called on Aias to stand firm in the face of a great fighting and danger. This danger is that the Trojans are coming down upon the body of Patroklos, which Menelaos and Aias are protecting. This show the first point of the trident as seen in Greek culture. The trident is the three main parts of a person which is, the body, spirit, and the mind. In Homer's Iliad , Telemon's Aias possesses all three qualities of the trident, these define his character and portrays him as the ideal Greek warrior: his strength in battle (the body), his spirituality (the spirit), and his ability as a speaker (the mind).

          Aias' most evident quality is his superior strength. Patroklos, friend of Achilleus, has just been killed and strong Menelaos calls upon Aias to come down and fight. He is fighting against the Trojans who are angered because they want to get the body of Patroklos. They were just two men against the Trojans who storm down like a pack of hungry wolves, ready to devour anything in their way, but Aias stands strong (Book 17). A second example is when Aias and Hecktor fight against each other. Aias hits Hecktor with his spear, while Hecktor misses. Aias throws a rock on him, and Hecktor is so hurt, that he makes the excuse that the sun is going down, so let us postpone the battle until tomorrow. This is clearly showing brave Hectare's cowardice toward Aias. (Book 7). Another example is when Aias is fighting against the Trojans, he kills so many of them that even brilliant Hecktor is afraid of him and will not stand up to him (Book 11). These examples all clearly show Aias' strength in battle and portrays his as the perfect warrior. Homer wants to portray Aias as the ideal warrior, and his first quality is overall strength and great fighting. This is the first point on the trident, the body, in which Aias excels.

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          Aias is the only person in the book to call upon the name of God, with a capitol G, whereas the other warriors believe in pantheism and call on their gods, with a lowercase g. When he does he also receives blessing in his fighting and all he does. For example when he asks God for help before fighting Hecktor, then he is victorious in battle. He does it twice (book 7 line 287-288), and in both cases what he calls for he is given and a little more. Another key aspect of his spirituality is his humility, and how he is obedient to his superiors. For example, when Menelaos calls for Aias to come and help him out at the ship, Aias does not just go loiter around the ships, but he stands strong and fights hard, and he is blessed. In contrast to the proud Agamemnon, Aias is very humble in all that he does. He clearly has the right to speak about his honor and all that he does, but he never once uses them. He just is quiet until he has something to add or help out someone. This clearly shows Aias' humility. This is the second point on the trident, the spirit, in which Aias is the only one to call upon God, and the only one who is humble.

          Aias is not only a good warrior, and a spiritual man, but he also has skill in the art of speaking and persuasion. For example, when he gives his speech to Achilleus, he uses the stylistic device of apostrophe. When he is speaking to Achilleus he starts by talking to only Odysseus and then he begins to talk so loud that everyone can hear. This shows his skill in the art of speech. Also in this same speech he is very persuasive and he uses ethos to persuade Achilleus. For example, he is talking about how his men are dying, and how he has to go back and save the day. This is also amplified by his character which is one of purity. These examples clearly show the intellect of Aias. This completes the Trident, mind, body, and spirit. This is the last point of the trident, the mind, in which Aias proves himself well.

          In Homer's Iliad, Telemon's Aias has three qualities that define his character and portrays him as the ideal Greek warrior: his strength in battle, his spirituality, and his ability as a speaker. Aias has much to teach us. We can learn from him that, you must be well rounded in all areas, and to balance them out equally. He also shows us how spirituality, persuasion and strength are related.
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