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Differences In The Quest For Fame Between Modern Society And The Illiad By Homer

1024 words - 5 pages

While dignity, pride, honor, glory, fame, and revenge are still important in today’s society, these conditions are not nearly as important as they once were. People of modern times still seek fame to the same degree that the characters in The Iliad once did, but our means of receiving it have changed. In the times of The Iliad, lasting fame was more valuable to a person because they considered their name all that was left behind of them when they journeyed to the underworld. Today, we have more means of being remembered once we pass, such as pictures and even school records. In Homer’s era, warriors dreamed of eternal fame through rhapsodes’ retelling of their splendor on the battlefield. Instead of gaining fame through battle, people of today would attempt to become famous through a talent like singing or athleticism. We do not seek fame for our name to be carried once we die, but most of us would rather enjoy the fame we gather within our lifetimes. The characters in The Iliad are proof to this idea of legacy through fame. Hector speaks not of his fame, but his son’s fame when he says, “Then one day may someone say of him as he returns from war ‘He is better far off than his father’!” (137). I think our definition of fame has shifted since the years of Homer, and so has our techniques to obtain it. Today’s definition of fame is more superficial. According to Debra Shigley, J.D., there is a formula to achieve fame (Shigley, 2011). First, one must package his or her expertise with personal branding. Then, he or she uses publicity to become visible. Last, it is necessary to sell the original expertise at a significant price. While people of early times were concerned with fame that made them immortal, modern people are more concerned with fame that ameliorates their lives while they are living.

Honor is a great deal less important today than it was in The Iliad. In ancient cultures, a person must be considered honorable in order to be found capable of leadership roles. If someone does not have honor, then it would be difficult for those in their command to have respect for him or her. The warriors of that time would die for their honor. Today, we still worry about our honor, mostly out of morality, but honor is not required in pursuit of becoming the leader of most systems. Most leadership jobs are given once a resume and interview are completed, not after someone has heard your name is honorable. However, military officers are held to the same standards as those in The Iliad. Military personnel are dishonorably discharged if they commit certain reprehensible deeds (Guina, 2007-2014). Society is more structured now, and the job you are qualified for tends to be the job you are given. An example of the ancient Greeks’ respect for honor is Achilles’s reaction to Agamemnon’s request for his war prize, Briseis (130). Today, most of the workers in the world, including those in the military are compensated in the form of currency. In...

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