Friday, July 19, 2019

The Iliad of Homer and Greek Heroes Essay -- essays research papers

The Iliad is an epic tale of war and hero’s within the Greek way of life. A predominant and consistent theme of honor and glory reside throughout the poem. The motivation for any Homeric Greek is glory, or â€Å"Kleos†, that is to be honored and respected among their people. Emphasis is put on living by the heroic code. Honor is essential to the Greeks and life would not be worth living without it. When a warrior or hero is advised to avoid risking their life in battle it almost drives them even further towards the deed. It is better to be killed in action rather than to live and be thought a coward. By our rational standards one would certainly not be thought a coward if they didn’t rush into battle to almost certain death, the Greeks however, live by a different set of rules, a different set of standards and a different set of goals. The objective of attaining Kleos was the centerpiece of life. Kleos could only be attained beating your opponent, it could not be won if it’s offered voluntarily or as a dowry . On the flip side of the pursuit of glory and respect, is the avoidance of shame and humility for not taking part in war or not risking your life. To be shamed in life is far, far worse than to be killed in battle. A Homeric warrior would be greatly shamed if he were to turn his back on a battle or confrontation even if he is certain that if he fights, he will die. To you and I, this seems ridiculous and outright offensive to common sense and logic but such thoughts didn’t exist in those days, it was all about glory, it was all about respect. If you ran from battle you might as well keep running because you will be looked upon as a failure, as a scab, as an embarrassment to the native land and your family. You could be disowned, you could be exiled, or you can even be killed. It’s unfortunate in fact that such high standards were placed of the hero’s in this poem. Many great men perished during the Trojan war because it was not in their wishes to conceive defeat and fall back, they had to fight to the death, it was the only way. The hero often finds himself in â€Å"kill or be killed† situations where they are fighting their opponents will and desire for glory and their loathing and unacceptability of shame. When a battle took place, it was one on one. One hero vs. another, one man and his resume of victorie... ...willingly sacrifice the chance to live a long life for the opportunity to attain Kleos and their desperate desire to avoid Shame. Burial rights are taken especially seriously in Ancient Greek times, and Hektors family would feel particular shame if he was not to be taken back to his homeland and cremated properly. They went to great length and expense to retrieve his body after Achilleus allowed it. Shame and Kleos ran their lives, and the lives of those around them. These heroes pledged to a life long ambition to bring honor to themselves and avoid any smearing of their good name. The moral values were based on this acceptance and the society adapted. There was nothing more important than these two aspects of life; it was all that was important, and all that was on the agenda. This is how the Ancient Greeks and Trojans fought this war; by the very fabric of their lives they would do what they deemed necessary to satisfy their need for glory. And thus, a select few, till this day have their name sketched in history books as great warriors, and great men. That is precisely what they hoped for, and precisely what they got. To the victor, go the spoils.

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