"The Iliad" And The Pursuit Of Honor And Glory

1408 words - 6 pages

The Iliad, which is an epic poem written about the Trojan War, was the first thing written in the European tradition. Astonishingly, its quality and appeal have yet to be surpassed. This is a result of Homer's use of idealistic themes, many of which show up in many modern novels. One of the most dominant themes present in The Iliad is the pursuit of honor and glory. Even though the Achaeans and Trojans are in a violent battle with one another, both display a similar attitude: the acquisition of glory is more important than life itself.

The Achaeans are more concerned with personal glory and achievement rather than the well-being of the city. Two Characters who definitely display this characteristic are Agamemnon and Achilles. Agamemnon is selfish and is only concerned with his own honor. This is seen almost immediately in the poem. In book one, during the tenth year of battle, Chryses visits Agamemnon and offers ransom for his daughter, Chryseis who was taken as plunder early in the war. Although the ransom is attractive, Agamemnon refuses the money because the girl represents power and glory and that is far more important than wealth. Plunder represents victory; therefore, the more women Agamemnon possesses, the more glorified and powerful he feels. Eventually, Agamemnon returns the girl to her father; however, he insists that someone give him a female to compensate for his loss and restore his honor. He views the situation as a challenge to his authority and complains, "I alone of the Argives go without my honor. That would be a disgrace" (1.139-40). Agamemnon demands, the "Argives will give me a prize, a match for my desires, equal to what I have lost, well and good. But if they give me nothing I will take a prize myself (1.159-62)." When Achilles confronts Agamemnon about this, Agamemnon responds, "You are nothing to me--you and your overweening anger! ... I will be there in person at your tents to take Briseis in all her beauty, your own prize--so you can learn just how much greater I am than you... (1.214-20)" This is a great dishonor to Achilles. Even Athena calls Agamemnon's behavior an "outrage." Briseis is a prize that Achilles received for valor and courage in battle. Thus, Agamemnon dishonors Achilles and berates him as a warrior. Furthermore, the reader is reminded through Achilles, that the only reason the Achaeans are fighting against Troy is because of Agamemnon and his brother, Menelaus' honor. They are the only two wronged by Troy and for their sake the Achaeans are fighting against men who have done them no wrong. Thus, Agamemnon puts innocent lives on the line in order to preserve his own glory.

As a result of the insult to Achilles' honor, he is determined to restore his glory and his status as a great worrier. In the process, he is going to selfishly put his honor above the well-being of his fellow troops and friends. Achilles is a "man born and shaped for battle, who values life, his own...

Find Another Essay On "The Iliad" and the Pursuit of Honor and Glory

The Glory Of War Analyzed in Homer’s The Iliad and Ishmael Beah’s Autobiography, A Long Way Gone

649 words - 3 pages . Through each author’s use of diction and content, both narratives present compelling grounds for either claim. In The Iliad, the glory of war is established through artistic words, inspiring speeches and ostentatious imagery. In book fifteen, after Hector had already been wounded by the battle and many lives have been lost, Homer writes: “Arrows leapt from the bow-string, spears shot from steady hands—some to pierce the bodies of strong young men

The Importance of Honor and Virtue

1336 words - 5 pages The Importance of Honor and Virtue Two important characteristics for warriors are honor and virtue. Virtue is deemed to be the most important to a warrior's life and it means achieving your greatest potential as a human being. "The reward for great honor and virtue is fame (kleos), which is what guarantees meaning and value to one's life. Dying without fame (akleos) is generally considered a disaster, and the warriors of The Iliad do the

Heoes of the Iliad and the Odyssey

2057 words - 9 pages , honor and pride are so intertwined with one another, that it can be hard to distinguish between the two. However, heroic mortal men like Achilles and Odysseus, whose stories are found within The Iliad and The Odyssey, experience and are often consumed by the damming vice of pride, or hubris, and therefore are subjected to the ramifications that come with their decisions. In order to distinguish between the actions done through honor, or pride

The Power and the Glory

1632 words - 7 pages goes through some interesting areas of Camden and past landmarks like the old Federal St. Bridge over the Cooper River. As you travel toward State St., you can take in a number of abandoned, dilapidated factories and warehouses that once employed thousands in this once thriving city. Above Camden, there are nice stretches where the train runs along the Delaware River and through wetlands teeming with geese and ducks. If you're not into wildlife

gods and humans of the iliad

705 words - 3 pages be easily moved by the gods hands. It is also a board game where the characters are aware of, rely on and are separated from the ones playing the game. The gods all pick sides and influence characters to do specific things to help the side they are on. In the Iliad there are 4 on each side, on the Trojan side are: Aphrodite, Apollo, Artemis, and Leto. On the Greek side are: Athena, Hera, Poseidon, and Hermes. Like a board game where they push the

life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

2373 words - 10 pages In June of 1776 Thomas Jefferson began to draft The Declaration of independence. He completed it and had it signed on June 28, 1779. A very famous line from this document would have to be “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” (Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence, June 28, 1776) Today we can see that those rights are not exactly being protected. It is evident through the everyday killings, the people being locked up due to

Terrorism and the Pursuit of God

676 words - 3 pages Terrorism and the Pursuit of God To set out on a suicide mission, to willingly kill thousands of civilians seems unfathomable for many Americans in the wake of the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Why would anyone do something like that? The answer from many sources has been: religion. More specifically, many people are blaming the Islamic religion, the religion that the hijackers are suspected to adhere to, claiming that Islam reveres

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

1108 words - 5 pages men are created equal. The Declaration of Independence states one of the most famous quotes known to man “All men are created equal”, and that we have the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. In the past, this was a realistic assumption. While all men are generally created equally, they are not all created into an equal environment. Some people are born into royalty with all of the luxuries that exist, while others are born

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Rebellion

854 words - 4 pages Throughout life, one’s ability to decide his or her own course determines future success. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave exposes the harsh suppression of African-American slaves in the South that confined their daily routines. Their inability to define their own lives highlights the direct connection between African-American illiteracy and their enslavement. Douglass reveals literacy’s power to transform his

Honor and the Celtic Heroes

1335 words - 5 pages The honor-code within the Mabinogi, The Tain, and Gantz’s Early Irish Myths and Sagas underlines the ethos of the traditional Celtic hero. Yet, the compliance of the honor-code could be better observed as serving the identity and reputation of the hero rather than a deeper code of morality as it might suggest. The gae bolga, Efnisien, Mider’s love for Etain, and Rhiannon’s magic bag are all instruments of unworldly power, making the impossible

The Odyssey and the Iliad

1191 words - 5 pages The Odyssey and the Iliad      In our day and age, people strive for independence and a sense of authority. However, at many times this is more easily said than done. Whether it be God, or in the eyes of the Achaeans and Trojans, the immortals, lives and actions are commonly defined by a higher being. Which leads to Homer’s epic poems the Odyssey and the Iliad which deal with constant conflict in a world

Similar Essays

The Pursuit Of Honor In Homer’s Iliad

1883 words - 8 pages pursuit of everlasting honor, Achilleus no longer fears his own demise. Rather, he fears dying the death of the unknown, of the swineherd, a death without glory.   Works Cited and Consulted: Camps, W. A. An Introduction to Homer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980. Clarke, Howard. Homer's Readers: A Historical Introduction to the Iliad and the Odyssey. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Press, 1981. Goodrich, Norma. Myths of the hero

Honor And Glory In Homer's Iliad

1543 words - 6 pages Honor and Glory in Homer's Iliad        Mortality, by its very nature, causes men's lives to be cut short at their primes.The Fates cut our lives short at any time, so the Greeks must have an example, a model mortal, to follow so as to make the "most of their lives."A model mortal is one who lives his life accumulating the most honor and glory: "he pressed for battle now where men win glory" (4: 259).By strictly adhering to the honor

Deus And Kleos: The Paradox Of Glory In Homer's The Iliad

1380 words - 6 pages . Soldiers often took the armor of the enemies they have killed as trophies. Achilles, while steadfast in his pursuit of honor and glory, willingly gives glory to his comrades. While Achilles is willing to let his comrades fall in battle because of an insult to his glory. He is also willing to part with his armor, a physical manifestation of his glory, to his dearest companion Patroclus. While Achilles is steadfast in his pursuit of glory, the bonds of

Glory In The Iliad Essay

929 words - 4 pages terrifying natural phenomenon and saying that it is an underestimation of what the fury and terror was. This description, rather than producing an image of glory and honor, illustrates one of terror and discord ,hardly and attractive image. Yet glory can be found in this world of conflict, just after higher sacrifices. GIory comes at a high price in the Iliad. In Book 6 Hektor visits his family after talking to Paris, this brief emotional