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Honor As The Theme In Homer’s The Iliad

2088 words - 8 pages

There are different forms and examples of exemplary and classic literature which have been deemed as significant works that are highly esteemed worldwide. These examples of literature would awe the world with how much literary skill they entailed when they were composed and written: attention to details as to formation of characters, the most crafty of plots, the most eloquent speeches and lines, the most astounding of twists of scenes, and most of all, the most universal and meaningful of themes. The theme of any literary work is what makes it great as it should be able to encompass the immense diversity of the world and as it would be able to transcend the boundaries of religion, age, race, gender, etc. Two examples of this great and classic literature are the epics of Homer which are quite well known around the world even if, ironically, they were never written and were first composed in Ancient Greek—The Iliad and Odyssey. Both epics are famous for the literariness therein, but more than that is the theme that spins around the two epics—the importance of honor. In The Iliad, this is shown more than ever, and amidst the thousands of deaths, the murder and betrayal, the wrath of the gods and goddesses, the beautiful queen which caused the war, and the mythical and mystical of creatures is the pervading atmosphere and perception of the valiant heroes that above all else, it is honor which they exalt and fight for.
A brief summary of the epic The Iliad would be nearly impossible and complicated as it would encompass years of war and before that, years of grief, prophecies, and turbulence. In the version of Jaroslav Hulak, the epic begins in the ninth year of the Trojan War; that is, a war between the Trojans and the Greeks (or the Achaeans). The said war is believed to be caused by the Trojan Prince, Paris, who stole the beautiful Helen, wife of King Menelaus, a Grecian King who served as a host to Paris. While this circumstance may be easy enough to understand, such setting or background in the plot actually entails more history: Even before Paris was born, a prophecy was carried out that the handsome prince would cause the destruction of Troy; thus, King Priam and his queen banished the baby to be raised in the wilderness. Later on, as a shepherd, he encountered the three goddesses, Hera, Pallas Athene, and Aphrodite, and set the motion of what would be the war that extinguished the Trojan line—Paris was to decide who is the most beautiful of the goddesses. Each goddess tried to bribe him with promises of power, riches, fame, and glory, but it was Aphrodite who succeeded in the end as she promised Paris that he can have the most beautiful mortal, Helen. This simple arrangement would then serve as the catalyst of a war that would kill thousands of Trojans and Greeks as soon it is revealed that Paris has stolen Helen and the gods and goddesses of Olympus have each taken sides on the war which would further complicate the lives of the people...

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