Analysis Of ' The Iliad '

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Homer’s epic, The Iliad, highlights the influence and jurisdiction that beauty provides. The prizes and glory a man accumulates from war measure his power, while beauty measures a woman’s power. Since conquering a woman is the ultimate prize to a man, her beauty represents ultimate power. Though the beauty of mortal women has the power to turn men against each other, mortal women have no influence over this power and are instead objectified by men. Immortal women, however, have authority over their beauty and are able to control men with their power. Helen, on the other hand, though mortal, has the beauty of a goddess. Yet, Helen is bound by her fate to Paris, making her power obsolete. By presenting Helen’s hopeless power and supplying the reader with insight on her suffering through her thoughts, Helen is portrayed as a tragic hero.
Throughout The Iliad, Homer displays the influence of a women’s beauty on the affairs of men during war. For instance, Agamemnon, the king of the Achaean’s, is forced to return the women he has conquered, Chryseis, in order to save his army from the plague of Apollo. However, he refuses to be deprived of a prize and says, “But fetch me another prize, and straight off too, / else I alone of the Argives go without my honor” (Homer 81). Agamemnon’s command demonstrates his reliance on a prize for nobility and glory. Without a physical representation of his strength and war victories, Agamemnon is left with nothing to uphold his jurisdiction.
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