Compare and Contrast Iliad vs. Odessey

1184 Words Jan 14th, 2013 5 Pages
How do Homer’s the Iliad and Odyssey compare and contrast?
July 4, 2012 at 8:12 am

How do Homer’s the Iliad and Odyssey compare and contrast?

The Iliad begins with Chryses, a prophet of Apollo, coming to a Greek camp and offering valuable “penalty tokens” requesting the return of his daughter who the Greeks had captured in a raid. Because Agamemnon believed she was rightfully his, he refused. Most of his fellow Greeks wanted him to return her in order to avoid conflict. In order to preserve his time (honor, respect, value), Agamemnon brings danger to them all. Chryses prays to Apollo and a plague is released upon the Achaeans. Achilles, a basileus in the Greek army, suggests seeking insight from the prophet Calchas. Upon doing so
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Traveling on, they pass by the island of the Sirens, whose seduce men with their song. Odysseus prevents his men from hearing their song and they make it past. Next, he passes by the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis. Five men are eaten, and the rest go to the island of Helios Hyperion, the sun. Circe warned him not to eat the cattle but they did anyway. When they sail away, Zeus destroys their boat to punish their impiety. Odysseus alone escapes. He finally comes to the island of Calypso, where the story began.

In the text, “The Greeks, History, Culture and Society,” authors Morris and Powell compare and contrast the Iliad and the Odyssey as such, “The remarkable Odyssey…has a tripartite plot, but moves more in spirals than in a straight line. Whereas the Iliad describes a man at odds with his society, a man apart, the Odyssey describes a man who journeys far, suffers much then returns to his proper place in society…the Iliad is tragic, the Odyssey is comic [meaning the story ends in harmony and acceptance].”

In the Iliad, people die in combat, often times honorable men against honorable men. Morals are a major theme expressed in the Iliad. Upholding a state of honesty, restraint, discipline, honor, and respect are important characteristics that are sought for. The Odyssey deals with Odysseus striving to return home and the morals of mortals are critiqued by Zeus. While Achilles challenges his commander Agamemnon and abhors devious