Violence, Power, and Goals in the Hebrew Bible and The Iliad Essay

Violence, Power, and Goals in the Hebrew Bible and The Iliad Essay

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Violence is a means to an end. Violence is not something most humans resort to for enjoyment. Violence is, however, the right thing to be done in certain situations. With violence, comes great power. Power and violence walk together, hand in hand. When violence is exhibited, the power of the individual is shown to those around him. In both the Hebrew Bible and The Iliad, violence is depicted as a mode to reach goals. The reason for this is that violence allows an individual or a deity to flaunt their powers, while they simultaneously achieve their personal and communal ambitions.
Just like how mortals have their own goals, deities also have an agenda. God, in the Hebrew Bible, has only two goals: to have humans obey Him blindly and to punish them if they disobey Him. In order to execute both of His plans, God uses violence. In Exodus 32, the Israelites who escaped Egypt insulted God by "making themselves a molten calf and bowing low to it and sacrificing to it" (Exodus 32:8), as well as claiming the calf to be the one who brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). By worshipping the idol of the calf, the Israelites had turned away from God. Because the Israelites disobeyed God, He ended up pursuing his other goal, to punish the people who disobeyed Him. Because of the Israelites' foolish act, God chose to inflict pain on them: "then the Lord sent a plague upon the people, for what they did with the calf that Aaron made" (Exodus 32:35). Since God never once appeared in front of humans as a man, the only way for the Israelites to experience God's anger and disappointment, and ultimately the power he yields, is through His physical punishment: the plague. Also, vice versa, the plague was the physical representation God needed in orde...

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...t all the Trojan men will be fighting for their beloved Troy, too keep her from tumbling. The Trojans had no choice except to fight. They had to use violence to achieve the goal of the people. They must use all the power in their mights to defend their only home. If they don't they will exhibit a weakness, in which the Greeks will then take for granted. Violence, once again, is a necessity in reaching a common goal of a city that is under attack.
Violence, although at times is morally wrong, is sometimes the best way to solve a problem, to reach a goal. Because violence is an exhibition of a man's powers, violence allow an individual to show his might and his prowess. Therefore, both violence and power are attributed to an individual's or society's ability to achieve what they yearn to accomplish.

Works Cited

Homer's Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles
The Tanakh

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